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tv   Public Affairs  CSPAN  June 4, 2013 1:00pm-5:01pm EDT

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motion except one motion to recommit with or without instructions. section 2, at any time after the adoption of this resolution, the speaker may, pursuant to clause 2-b of rule 18, declare the house resolved into the committee of the whole house on the state of the union for consideration of the bill, h.r. 2217. making appropriations for the department of homeland security for the fiscal year ending september 30, 2014, and for other purposes. the first reading of the bill shall be dispensed with. all pointser -- points of order against consideration of the bill are waived. general debate shall be confined to the bill and shall not exceed one hour equally divided and controlled by the rare and ranking minority member. after general debate, the bill shall be considered for amendment under the five-minute rule. points of order against provisions in the bill for failure to comply with clause 2 of rule 21 are waived. except for section 563. during consideration of the bill for amendment, the chair of the
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committee of the whole may accord priority and recognition on the basis of whether the member offering an amendment has caused it to be printed in the portion of the congressional record designated for that purpose and in clause 8 of rule 18. . amendments so printed shall be considered as read. when the committee rises and reports the bill back to the house with the recommends the bill do pass, the previous question shall be considered as ordered on the bill and amendments thereto to final passage without intervening motion except one motion to recommit with or without instructions. section 3, pending the adoption of concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2014, the provisions of house concurrent resolution 25 as adopted by the house shall have force and effect in the house until congress has adopted such concurrent resolution. and the allocations of spending authority printed in tables 11 and 12 of house report 113-17, shall be considered for all
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purposes in the house be the allocations under section 302-a of the across-the-board -- congressional record act of 1974. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from florida is recognized for one hour. mr. sessions: thank you, mr. speaker. for the purpose of debate -- >> i yield 30 minutes to mr. hastings. pending which i yield myself such time as i may consume. during consideration of this resolution all time yieldeder in the purpped of debate only. mr. webster: i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. webster: mr. speaker, i rise today in support of the rule and the two underlying bills. house resolution 243 provides for an open rule for consideration of h.r. 2216, military construction and veterans' affairs and related agencies appropriation act of 2014, and h.r. 2217, the
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department of homeland security appropriation act of 20 14. this rule provides ample opportunities for members from both minority and the gentlelady reserves the balance of her time to participate in the debate and does not limit the number of amendments by which -- that may be considered so long as the amendments comply with the rules of the house. colleagues from both sides of the aisle agree that these appropriation acts for fiscal year 2014 are the product of an open, collaborative, and bipartisan process. they provide critical funding for military construction, housing, schools, and medical falsilts for our service members and their families, important veterans programs, the protection and security of our airports, seaports, and national border, and disaster relief efforts. they also reduce duplication, improve oversight, encourage efishency, and increase coordination of -- efficiency and increase coordination of services. mr. speaker, these bills address
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nonpartisan issues that affect every one of us. the seamless operation of these agencies and programs and projects will benefit all americans. let me first address h.r. 2216, the military construction, veterans' affairs, and related agencies appropriation act of 2014. this fiscally sound bill funds programs that are necessary to keep our promises to our veterans. and to train, equip, house, and support the brave men and women in uniform, as well as their families. this bill provides over $73 billion in discretionary funds which is $1.4 billion above the enacted fiscal year 2013 level. it continues to provide advanced funding that was approved in fiscal year 2013 for veterans and medical care. -- unds' programs reduced reduce the staggering backlog which severely delay the process
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of veterans benefits claims. this advanced funding will ensure our veterans have full medical access -- access to medical care regardless of where we stand in the annual appropriation process. h.r. 2216 funds military construction projects, including family housing, military and medical facilities, and department of defense educational facilities. it also funds critical v.a. medical services and provides for a unified electronic health records system to integrate department of defense and veterans' affairs health records. currently our veterans must physically present a hard copy of their d.o.d. health records at their v.a. appointments, and physicians are unable to look up patients' medical history if they do not have their records with them. this bill addresses this frustrating and inefficient process and will begin to replace an archaic paper record system with an electronic system that will ensure our veterans
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will be efficiently served and receive the care they need and deserve. next i'd like to talk about and highlight a few of the important provisions in h.r. 2217. the department of homeland security and appropriation act 2014. this bill is essential to protect the security of our national borders and the safety and well-being of all americans. this bill provides $28 billion in discretionary funding for the department of homeland security, which includes funding for 21,370 border patrol agents, and nearly 22,800 customs and border protection officers, the largest totals in history. it also directs u.s. immigration and customs enforcement to train agents to identify and assist victims of human trafficking and direct i.c.e. to increase spending on human trafficking and smuggling investigations.
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h.r. 2217 also provides funding for fema to ensure our nation is prepared to provide disaster relief and funds the coast guard. finally, i'd like to reiterate these bills strengthen our national security and continue the well-being of our brave service members, their families, and our veterans. they also recognize that our growing debt threatens the stability and safety of our nation, and for this reason these bills make recommendations to reduce bureaucratic inefficiencies, duplication, and overhead. once again, mr. speaker, i rise in support of this rule and the underlying legislation, the appropriation committee has worked hard to provide us with two fiscally responsible appropriation bills that will meet the housing construction medical needs of our military and provide support to their families. they'll keep our promises to the american veterans, and they will enhance our national security. i encourage my colleagues to vote yes on the rule and yes on the underlying bill and i reserve the balance of my time.
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the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from florida. mr. hastings: thank you very much, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. hastings: thank you very much. i'd also like to thank my friend and colleague, the gentleman from florida, the former speaker of the florida house of representatives, who clearly championed there and here does likewise regular order. mr. speaker, this rule provides for consideration of h.r. 2216 by my . 2217 as outlined colleague from the other side. two appropriations measures that fund military construction and family housing projects, the department of veterans affairs, and the department of homeland ecurity.
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once again my friends on the yetr side are using this as another attempt, this particular rule, to deem and pass the controversial budget offered by our colleague, paul ryan. this is exactly what they did in april of last year when they reneged on their promises in the budget control act and also during consideration of h.r. 5326, the commerce, justice, science appropriations for fiscal year 2013. my republican colleagues have been calling for regular order. however both the house and the senate, each passed a budget this year, and regular order would have them go to conference
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to negotiate a budget for the 113th congress. but instead much appointing conferees, the speaker of the house and the house republican leadership, is deeming the ryan budget passed. somewhere in a graphic i saw said they are deeming the impossible deem. i as one exemplar should know, having served on the rules committee in the majority when we were going forward, we did consider deem and pass, and we learned along the way that that was going to skew the process and therefore we retreat interested that, and i would urge my friends, the republicans, to do likewise. they would rather if there is of er military spending
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programs that millions of americans rely on than work with the democrats to replace the sequester and properly fund our nation's government. i'm not going through the litany of all the things that the sequester has cut and the problems that it has caused. most people know that. but the meals on wheels program has been the one put forward. i think it's plain dumb and crazy to not take care of older people in our society. never mind all the ideology, the deficit, all the other hawk talk. who cares when someone that is a grandmother goes to sleep hungry because we didn't do what we should have done and that he we passed a foolish sequester that has caused these problems. as a result, we are working with different budget target levels. n the house it's .966 trillion
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$1.0 roximately $1.-- trillion for the senate. which both sides agreed upon in the budget control act of 2011. these differences are important. the resumptions imposed by the house 302-b allocation mean greater cuts for agencies and programs that are already face difficult budget decisions due to sequestration. the two funding bills coming before us for consideration this week, along with those for defense and the legislative branch, are the only ones expected to receive and increase over the 2013 post sequester level. this means that we'll be forced to sacrifice health care, environment, education,
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transportation, and other important spending priorities in order to meet the new overall reductions required by the sequester. furthermore, the appropriation for military construction and veterans' affairs is the only budget with a 302 allocation that is higher than pre-sequestration funding levels, whereas funding for homeland security, in my opinion, is unacceptably low in some areas, and the bill is encumbered by very, very troublesome riders. i would urge the members of the house to look very carefully at those riders. consequently the 302-b allocation would be a 22% reduction to the presequestration budget for health care, education, and labor programs. in my opinion that's just plain outrageous. republicans are again asking -- i'm fond of saying in the rules
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committee that when i was 11 and 12 years old my favorite radio program that my grandmother would let myllysen to on saturdays was a program called, "let's pretend." and little did i know 65 years later that i would be in an august body that is awesome in and of itself, sitting around with people pretending that things are happening that are not happening. what you're asking us to pretend is that the ryan budget is law. when in fact it is not. this unilateral action is a formula for conflict, and i predict for you that's what we will have. while i appreciate the spirit of bipartisanship and those gentlemen that came there yesterday, mr. price, and mr. bishop, the ranking members, and the counterpart , him, did an exceptional job
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john culberson, in showing this body that there can be bipartisan effort and they did so and i would hope that that would serve for the rest of the appropriations and for this body to take notice that people can work together when they try, and that bipartisanship led to the funding levels contained within both these bills that we are considering under this rule. it is regrettable that it was not extended to the entire process. . the framework in which we are considering these bills, the ryan budget that house republicans have deemed as passed is a nonstarter. the administration folks said yesterday, and i quote them, unless this bill passes the congress in the context of an overall budget framework that
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supports our recovery and enables sufficient investments in education, infrastructure, footnote right there, do we need to be reminded about the bridge that fell in the state of washington? about the number of bridges in this nation that are in disrepair and have been in disrepair? when bill clinton became the president he advocated that there were 14,000 bridges in need of repair and he asked for a little bit of money that we should have allocated then. now we have thousands of bridges in disrepair and we are going about a process like this, ignoring them. where do we get the innovation at n.i.h. for the health needs that are coming and the technologicalal needs that are coming? and -- technological needs that are coming? and how do we protect our economy to be able to compete in the future? the president's senior advisors indicated that they would recommend to the president that
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e veto 2216 and 2217 and any other legislation that implements the house deemed budget framework. as i've said time and again, this is not way to run a budget process and no way to conduct the business of the house of representatives. mr. speaker, i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from florida. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i just want to remind everyone that we're talking about a rule here. and this rule, different from those that were proposed in the congresses before i got here, in the 111th congress, is an open rule. it allows for amendments. if there are those who do not like what bass -- what's in these bills, they can do everything they need to do in an amendment and get 218 votes and pass it and it will change. mr. webster: if this bill needs perfecting, either one of these bills need perfecting, they can be perfected.
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i believe that is as close to regular order as we can get. if we can come down to this floor, offer an amendment, get an opportunity to debate that amendment, have our say, hopefully get the votes to pass it, change the bill, that's the way this process should work. this rule provides for that. it provides for two very well thought-out appropriation bills which may have flaws. but if there are flaws, whether you're a republican or democrat, comon down. once we pass this -- come on down. once we pass this rule we'll be taking those bills up one at a time and they can offer any amendment that needs to be offered, as long as it's in the germane rules of this house, it can be offered. and we would welcome that and i think both sides would welcome that. that's why, when both of these bills came out of committee, there were glowing reports both from the minority republican and from the majority report. they're well thought-out bills,
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they are well-done bills. they're bipartisan. they're done in the open and collaborative way, a in an open, real and regular order process. so for that, i think this is a great rule. because it sets forward the opportunity of people on this floor, no matter who they are, from freshmen to senior member from republican to democrat, from moderate, liberal and conservative, no matter who they are, can offer amendments to this bill, these bills, both of them. and if they get a majority vote, they can pass them. so i think that to me is an open process, that's also regular order. i yield back and reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from florida. mr. hastings: mr. speaker, my colleague began by saying that's as close to regular order as we can get. i will tell him close but no cigar. mr. speaker, i'm very pleased to yield to my very good friend from new york, 2 1/2 minutes,
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the gentlewoman, mrs. lowey, who has been on the appropriations committee at times when we didn't deem things and that we did in fact pass appropriations measures. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from new york is recognized for 2 1/2 minutes. mrs. lowey: mr. speaker, i rise in strong opposition to this rule. which would deem the discretionary spending levels in the ryan budget as law. the ryan budget endorses sequestration, is unrealistic, unworkable, economically misguided. the senate and the white house are using a different set of numbers. by adopting the rule and the ryan budget and breaking caps in the budget control act which passed this body, we guarantee gridlock. the house majority will pass a small number of bills at roughly
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the president's requested levels. but will be unable to get bipartisan support for the remaining bills. it would also jeopardize our economic recovery. europeans are experiencing the limits of austerity in the midst of a fragile recovery. we should invest more in education, biomedical research, transportation infrastructure, clean energy and other initiatives that grow our economy and create jobs. instead, the deeming resolution would take a step back, all but ensuring significant reductions. to turn off the sequester, ensure the house's relevance in the process, and pass reasonable bills, democrats offered in the committee a motion to postpone
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consideration of subcommittee allocations until a budget resolution could be conferenced. and i do want to say this, and i would like to say this to my friend, the distinguished chair , the other side of the house there has been a call for a budget resolution on the senate. they did a budget resolution on the senate that has been requested by my good friends on the other side of the aisle. that budget resolution passed. however, i know the chairman of the house budget committee, ranking member of the house budget committee, chris van hollen, has called for a conference. went to the rules committee five times and said, let's have a conference so we can move forward. that was denied. mr. hastings: i yield the gentlelady an additional one
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minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from new york is recognized for an additional one minute. mrs. lowey: so, my colleagues, with a balanced deficit reduction plan, we could establish an alternative allocation that would sufficiently fund our priorities and allow us to follow regular order for the appropriations process. instead of my friends engaging yet today in a few tile process, it's just a futile -- futile process, it's just a futile exercise. the house should turn off the sequester before we consider spending bills. my friends, vote no on the rule. mr. hastings: you have an additional few seconds. would you yield to me? mrs. lowey: i'd be delighted to yield to you. mr. hastings: in addition to the fact that chris van hollen came to the rules committee five times, harry reid has offered eight times to go to conference and republicans have blocked it and i just want that to be
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understood. because later on we're going to hear somebody stand up here and say it's democrats that are holding it up and it's not. i thank the gentlelady for yielding. mrs. lowey: and if the gentleman would yield back to me. mr. hastings: i yield the gentlelady an additional 30 seconds. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized. mrs. lowey: i just want to make a point to my friend on the other side of the aisle, the bill before us today is a bipartisan bill. there was strong support on both sides of the aisle. the chair and the ranking member worked together in a collegial way because this bill is so important for our country. the problem here is that this bill and homeland security is nothing left. education, national institutes of health and a bill that's going to be cut 22%. so, my friends, the issue is not these bills today, it's the process and the fact there isn't a complete plan in place. thank you. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady's time has expired. the gentleman from florida. mr. webster: thank you, mr. speaker. i've been in this process a long
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time, not necessarily here, but in other venues. and what i found is, what's before you is before you. and what comes later may or may not come later. but i would say this to the lady, what we have here are two bills that are bipartisan bills. and they have a great deal of input from both sides, they came out of committee with a strong vote, with both republicans and democrats, and so in my thought, here we are. we're here, we're addressing this particular issue. now, when these other bills come to the floor of the house, before they get here they're going to pass through the rules committee, too. these appropriation bills. i will do everything i can to make them open also. so that anybody that wants to amend them or perfect them have the opportunity. i believe in an open process. i believe that members, no matter how long it takes, should have the opportunity to say their piece. and no matter what your philosophy, is no matter what
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your party is, no matter what your position is, no matter what your rank is, if you're 435th, it doesn't really matter. you should have an opportunity to present your case. and so these are these two bills, we have talked about the fact that we're going to have an open process here and people want to perfect these bills, then great, offer an amendment. when the other appropriation bills come, that will be the time to talk about them. but when they do, just know this. i'm going to be one that is going to be pressing hard to have ole open rules for them also -- to have open rules for them also. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady reserves the balance of her time. the gentleman from florida. -- the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from florida. mr. hastings: at this time i'm very pleased to yield two minutes to the distinguished gentleman from maryland, a very good friend, mr. hoyer, the minority whip of the house of representatives. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from maryland is recognized for two minutes. r. hoyer: i thank my friend,
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mr. speaker. what's before us is before us. what's before us is a rule. not the melcon bill, not homeland security, what's before us is the bill. and what does the bill do? it doesn't have an open process. it doesn't allow us an amendment. mr. van hollen wanted to have an amendment and say, let's go to conference on the budget. let's decide what these numbers ought to be. no, it's our way or the highway. you've passed a budget, you're going to stick with those number, they won't work. you know they won't work. that's why you don't go to conference. because mr. ryan knows he couldn't make a deal. that could he bring back to this house and your side would vote for it, i tell my friend on the rules committee. so what's before us is before us. and ratification of sequester, which starts with s, which stands for stupid. it is a terrible process. it is an irrational,
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commonsense-defying process. and yet my republican friends continue to demand that we mark to figures that were contrary to the understanding, agreement, deal, if you want, that we made. in august of 2011 we made a deal . and we said, this is -- these are going to be the numbers. and the ink was not dry on the paper until such time as you violated those -- that agreement. and the ryan budget violates it once again. it is $91 billion, almost 9%, less than the deal we made. what's before us is before us, the gentleman says. what's before us is the rule. to ratify this sequester. now, your side blames the president for it. the president doesn't want the sequester. we don't want the sequester. mr. van hollen, who is sitting here, doesn't want the sequester, and he's trying to offer amendments to obviate the
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sequester and hasn't been allowed to have those amendments on the floor, i tell my friend, on the rules committee. and i congratulate him for his position. but he ought to allow the van hollen amendment so the house can in fact work its -- i thank -- i thank you, mr. speaker. so that the house can work its will. so that we can in fact have a process that will work. now, my friend says he's been here for some time and he's participated in another legislative body. well, i've been here for a long time myself, as the gentleman knows. some 33 years. and 12 years in the maryland senate. so i've been around for some years myself. the fact is i will tell the gentleman, there is no possibility you're going it consider all 12 bills. because as the gentlelady said, you're going to run out of money. why? because you're front-loading that which you like and that which you're not too happy about is going to be not only breaking
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the agreement we made, but far below your own budget numbers. because you didn't want to mark to your 966 with this bill. why? because you want to make sure the veterans were taken care of. god bless you, i agree with that. there is only x number of dollars in that pot and somebody's going to lose. what the president is saying is let's consider them all together. that's what we ought to be doing. reject this rule. reject the sequester. reject this deeming resolution, and let us have a rule that makes common sense for our country. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from florida. mr. webster: thank you, mr. speaker. again i will reiterate the fact that it is what is before us. we cannot get to these two bipartisan, well thought out, well debated, well collaborated
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pieces of legislation, which deal with some issues that are very, very important, we cannot get to them without passing a rule to allow us to do that. that's what this rule does. it deals with those two bills. no, those two bills aren't before us, but this rule is the gateway to get to those bills. how are we going to get there? we are going to pass this rule. once we get there, what are we going to do? we are going to have an open process. one that has been foreign until the republicans took control of this institution. foreign, no matter what your standing in this body was, there were closed bill, after closed bill, after closed bill that came up. was there an opportunity to amend it? perfect it? do anything with it? absolutely not. but that's not the way it is now. if we pass this rule we are going to get to a process that allows every member, come down to this floor, offer an
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amendment, debate that amendment, and have the possibility of passing that amendment. so, yes, there are other issues, there are other appropriations, there are other bills that will be coming to this floor at some point in time, and at that time we can debate them, but right now this is the issue before us. these two bills, very important bills, and very much agreeed on bills, are only going to be taken up on this floor if this rule passes. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from florida. mr. hastings: thank you, mr. speaker. would you please advise both sides the amount of time remaining? the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from florida, mr. hastings, has 13 1/2 minutes remaining. the gentleman from florida, mr. webster, has 19 minutes. mr. hastings: thank you very much, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, i'm very pleased and privileged at this time to yield three minutes to the gentlewoman from connecticut, my friend, ms. delauro. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from connecticut is recognized for three minutes. i rise in strong
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opposition to this rule, which aims to approve the house majority's inadequate appropriations allocation level for 2014. a level that is over $90 billion below that. of the senate and the president. and it violates the agreement that we all voted on a year ago, democrats and republicans, in the budget control act, to increase that funding above the number that they present to us today. the budget reflects our value, reflects our priorities, and our responsibility to the people that we represent. it is our job to make sure that that is the case. and yet for the third time in three years this house majority has put forward a reckless, ideological funding level that
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ensures that our government cannot even meet its most basic responsibilities to the american people. and under this house majority plan, we'll see cuts that are deeper than the indiscriminate across-the-board cuts. the funding for the labor, education, health and human services committee is drastically cut and this rule accepts those cuts made to the program this year, and then it multiplies that by four in 2014. what are those cuts? where did they fall? and if enacted, the wrong choices will cause incalculable damage. they severely weaken these critical programs that protect public health and safety, that promote and develop our work force, training programs, education, pell grants, meals on
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wheels, special education, biomedical research so that people can live, that people can live. it affects our seniors, our veterans, our middle class, and our most vulnerable families. i along with congressman van hollen and others have offered legislation that cuts $30 billion from the federal deficit, replaces the deep and indiscriminate cuts for the next two years with a more balanced and targeted approach. that's the direction we should be moving in. keeping up with our fundamental responsibility to the families who have elected us to stand up for them rather than going down this path, the house majority should appoint budget conferees, doing its job, negotiate with the senate. our appropriations chairman claimed to want to reduce sequestration. rather than showing leadership, the house majority fails to address the sequester and creates conditions for another
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budget crisis down the road. we hear so much talk from this majority about regular order. what did that mean? house passes a bill, senate passes a bill, they work out their differences, get it to the president, and the president signs the bill. well, mr. speaker, where is the regular order? mr. hastings: i yield an additional 30 seconds. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from connecticut is recognized for an additional 30 seconds. ms. delauro: there is no order here. it is about autocracy. that's what we are dealing with. no more games. i urge all my colleagues vote against this disastrous funding level. let's work. let's work together to fix the sequester, bet back on the path to economic growth. this is our top priority. it must be our top priority. and this house of representatives needs to show the american people that it can lead. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from florida. mr. webster: thank you, mr. speaker. i want to reiterate again the benefits of these two bills that
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we are going to be debating if we pass this rule. they provide critical funding for military construction, housing, schools, and medical facilities for our service members and their families, important veterans programs that protect security for our airport, seaports, and national border, and disaster relief efforts. they also reduce duplication, improve oversight, encourage efficiency, and increase coordinated -- coordination of services. if there were one provision in a bill that would push you over the edge of voting for or against something, it would be the idea of getting rid of this old paperwork where i have had someone come and tell me that they had gotten a tetanus shot, i think about three weeks before they got out of the service. once they got out, they went to the v.a., they forgot to take the record with them so they had
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no proof. they went to the v.a., and the v.a. said you're going to have to get a tetanus shot. wait a minute, i already got one. you don't have that record? no, and if you don't have it with you, we don't know because you can tell us you had one three months ago, but that doesn't matter. we need to do it. these bills, this one bill, gets rid of that process. and says we are going to move towards a modern system, electronically transferring these records. there are so many good things in these two bills. it's just proof that this rule needs to be approved. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from florida. mr. hastings: thank you very much, mr. speaker. if we defeat the previous question, we'll offer an amendment to the rule that strikes the provision of the rule that deems the passage of the ryan budget and will allow the house to consider the resolution calling on speaker boehner to proceed to the conference on the budget. it is time for the majority to
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follow regular house procedure by immediately requesting a conference and appointing conferees to negotiate a fiscal 2014 budget resolution, conference agreement, with the senate. to discuss our proposal, i'm very pleased to yield to my good friend from maryland, mr. van hollen, five minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from maryland is recognized for five minutes. mr. van hollen: thank you, mr. speaker. i thank my friend, mr. hastings. i have been listening to mr. webster. if i were mr. webster i would do exactly what he's doing which is focusing on the underlying bill, the spending bill to support our veterans, support military construction, and homeland security. but as others have pointed out the vote before us is not on those underlying bills. it's on the rule. and everybody needs to understand that what's at play here is a scheme to use the rules to effect not -- affect not just the veterans' budget
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but other parts of our budget. in fact, mr. speaker, i find it especially cynical that our colleagues would use the spending bills on veterans and military construction as the vehicle to pass their budget levels which will result in dramatic cuts to the part of the budget that fund our kids' education and that fund the investments in science and research to find during and treatments to things like cancer, because we know the appropriations committee has already set out what the levels for those categories of the budget will be. you know what they are? $30 billion cut below the sequester level to the parts of the budget that fund our kids' education. and to fund that scientific research. so, yes, this is a rule for two particular bills, they are good bills. but the rule, ladies and
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gentlemen, has embeded in it the republican budget levels for the overall budget process. and that's going to hurt education for the kids of those veterans. and the family members of those veterans who have diseases whose funding for research is going to be dramatically cut. 20% cut below the sequester level. that's what you are adopting in this rule. 20% cut for the category of the budget on education. why are we here? we are supposed to have a budget process. the house passed a budget. i don't like the budget, but it passed a budget. the senate passed a budget. under the rules of the congress, in fact as a matter of law the house and the senate are supposed to complete a conference committee by april 15. that was quite a while ago. in fact, it's been over 70 days since the senate passed a budget and the house passed a budget. now, we don't have a
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house-senate conference committee report. why might that be? well, it turns out that the speaker of the house has refused to appoint conferees to work with the senate to come up with a budget. our republican colleagues beat up for years on the senate for not having a budget. i can understand that complaint. but the senate has a budget now, and yet our republican colleagues refuse to go to conference. you made a big deal about no budget, no pay. guess what? we don't have a budget. we have a house budget. we have a senate budget. but we don't have a federal budget. yet everybody's getting paid. what happened to that? now, why would we not want to go to conference? look, mr. speaker, just today in the united states senate, patty murray, the chairwoman of the budget committee for the 11th time tried to get consent to go to conference to work these differences out in a transparent
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way. here's what senator mccain has had to say about the whole process because i would urge our colleagues to listen to him. this is a quote from senator mccain. quote, i think it's insane for republicans, who complained for four years about harry reid not having a budget, and now we are not going to agree to conference. that is beyond comprehension for me. i think it's beyond comprehension for the american people. why are you sitting on the budget? what are we doing here in this rule? this rule says let's pretend. let's make believe that the house and senate went to conference and let's pretend that they agreed, except let's pretend they agreed on the house budget numbers. the numbers that would cut the part of the budget that deals with our kids' education by over 20%. let's pretend that because we don't want to go through the normal process. that's what this rule does. it's a total fake and it's a
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fake because of the refusal to work these issues out in a transparent manner for the american people. the previous question is a very simple statement. it just says let's comply with the law which case a conference committee was supposed to have met and complete action by april 15. let's at least start down the process of complying with the law. it says it is the sense of the house of representatives that the speaker should follow regular house procedure and immediately request a conference and appoint conferees to negotiate a fiscal year 2014 budget resolution so we can have a real federal budget, not a fake budget which is what you are calling for in this rule, under the guise of saying let's fund our veterans. i thank the gentleman. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for an additional -- mr. van hollen: i find it cynical we would use a good bill to provide spending and support to our veterans as the vehicle to impose this scheme on the
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congress, which will have terrible negative effects on other parts of the budget. while this congress was away, i don't know if people saw, down in fort bragg, home of the 82nd airborne, they just said that teachers who are going to teach the kids of our service men and women, are going to be furloughed for five days this fall. for five days this fall. so we want to replace the sequester. let's go to conference and get it done. i urge my colleagues who said they want a transparent process to vote for our measure. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from florida. mr. webster: i'd like to yield five minutes of my time to the gentleman from georgia, mr. woodall. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from georgia is recognized for five minutes. mr. woodall: i thank you, mr. speaker, and i thank my friend and colleague from florida for yielding me the time. . i came down to listen but i hadn't come down to speak. i will say to my friend from maryland, his words struck me.
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twice in his presentation he said, i think it's especially cynical that we're using this process to bring forward two bills that in a bipartisan way we agree on. i would say to my friend, with a heavy heart, mr. speaker, that i think it's especially cynical since we both know these bills need to be passed, to describe what is happening here in any terms other than that which is exactly necessary in order to get these bills passed. >> will the gentleman yield? mr. woodall: let me get this off my chest and i'll be happy to yield to my friend. i appreciate that. and if the gentleman -- i'd be happy to yield when i'm done. because i have a copy of the rule here. the gentleman was in the rules committee last night. the gentleman knows this is what section 3 -- provides that pending the adoption of a concurrent resolution on the budget, we're going to move forward. pending the adoption. now, my friend knows, mr. speaker, how hard it is to find that agreement. and the reason my friend knows is because i voted for the
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budget control act in august of 2011, which put my friend and five other members of the house, it was six house members, six senate members, six republicans, six democrats, it put them in a room together for august, september, october and november with the entire federal budget over the next 100 years in front of them, allowing them to choose anything they wanted to to agree on to let us move forward as a nation. and you know what, mr. speaker? collectively they agreed on not one dollar. not -- i don't fault my friend for that. i know my friend was working as hard as he could to find an agreement. what we're talking about finding an agreement with, mr. speaker, this comes from "the washington post" editorial page, it's entitled "the democrats' complacent budget plan." it says, partisan in tone and complains in substance, the budget scores points against republicans and reassures the party's liberal base but deepens these senators' commitment to an unsustainable policy agenda. this is what it is that we're trying to find agreement on. now, my friend from maryland
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knows, in fact he may have even brought it to my attention yesterday, a letter directeded to the chairman of the rules committee on which i sit, mr. speaker, from the chairman of the budget committee. also on which i sit. it's signed by chairman paul ryan and it says this, over paul ryan's signature, i want to emphasize that this is a request for an interim measure while the committee on the budget continues to work towards an agreement with the senate on a budget resolution for the coming fiscal year. and i would, with your permission, mr. speaker, i would ask my friend from maryland, does he doult the chairman's word -- doubt the chairman word, when the chairman says this is an interim solution until we find agreement? i'd be happy to yield to my friend. mr. van hollen: what i know are the facts which is just today, as i said on the floor, the chairwoman of the senate budget committee for the 11th time said to mr. ryan, let's go to conference so we can work out these differences in a public way. and she was blocked over here just like we've been blocked over here. mr. woodall: reclaiming my time.
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the chairman knows mr. ryan has no control over the inside workings of the united states senate. he did not block what was going on in the united states senate. united states senators blocked that. i ask the gentleman again -- mr. van hollen: that's why we want to have a vote. would the gentleman yield? mr. woodall: i'd be happy to yield to the gentleman. i understand he's frustrated about process. as someone who supports open rules, i'm frustrated with process. we have that in common. notwithstanding that process, what i have here is a letter from a man that you and i both support and support, i mean we believe in his integrity. and he tells us that is he working towards a solution and that what we're doing here today is just an interim step to get these bills that we all agree are so very important, we all agree are so very important, interim step to get these moving down the process. mr. van hollen: would the gentleman yield? mr. woodall: i would yield to askat, does he disagree with the commitment of the chairman? mr. van hollen: i'm not questioning the integrity of the
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chairman. this is not just about process. as i indicated, you adopt this rule, and you're essentially applying a 20% cut below sequester to the part of the budget that deals with our kids' education and science and research. so this is way beyond process. the other thing -- mr. woodall: reclaiming my time. that's not the case. that's just not the case. mr. van hollen: the gentleman should go read the appropriations committee allocations. mr. woodall: i'm aware of them and what i'm aware of is that we have to have those allocations to begin the process. the gentleman's talking about where we're going to finish the process. on october 1, i'm trying the to get it started today. the gentleman knows that we can't get started. now, i can yield back -- mr. van hollen: why are those levels at the levels they are? would the gentleman answer that question? the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. all members will suspend. the chair will receive a message. the secretary: mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: madam secretary. e secretary: i have been
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directed by the senate to inform the house that the senate has agreed to s.s remain 160, relative to the memorial services of the honorable frank r. lautenberg, late a senator from the state of new jersey. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from florida is recognized. mr. webster: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield an additional two minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from georgia is recognized for an additional two minutes. mr. woodall: i thank my friend for yielding. i want to quote what one of my democratic colleagues quoted last night in the rules committee. and that's federalist paper number 58. written by james madison for the independent journal back on february 20, 1788. and he said this, he said, this power of the purse in fact maybe regarded as -- may be regarded as the most complete and effectual weapon with which any constitution can arm the immediate representatives of the people. for obtaining a redress of every grievance and for carrying into effect every just and salutary measure. because that's the
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constitutional responsibility of this body, mr. speaker. to appropriate these dollars. this process of appropriation, this constitutional responsibility cannot begin until we have some numbers against which to budget. and appropriate. and what my chairman on the budget committee has asked is that as an interim step and an interim step only we adopt these numbers today on bills about which we all agree. what is cynical, mr. speaker, is that these are things on which we all agree and we're using this as a position to talk about other issues about which we disagree. mr. van hollen: would the gentleman yield? we don't all agree -- mr. woodall: as my friend knows from his time having to negotiate on the joint select or the -- what we'll call the supercommittee, my friends in the "the washington post" go on to say, in short, this document, talking about the budget passed
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by the senate, gives voters no reason to believe that democrats have a viable plan for or even a responsible public assessment of the country's long-term fiscal predicament. now, i will say, mr. speaker, that gives me great concern about whether we will be able to reach agreement with the senate. as you know, as my friend from maryland knows, mr. speaker, the house budget reduces spending by trillions of dollars, the senate budget increases spending even more. many years it spends even more than the president requested. as my friend from maryland knows, we keep tax revenues the same, the senate increases taxes by almost $1 trillion. mr. van hollen: i want to know why you're afraid to go to conference. why is that? that's what this is about. the speaker pro tempore: all members will suspend. the gentleman from georgia's time has expired. the gentleman from florida is recognized. the gentleman from florida, mr. hastings, is recognized. mr. hastings: i'm very pleased
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to yield two minutes to my very good friend from california, mrs. barbara lee. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from california is recognized for two minutes. ms. lee: thank you very much. i'd like to thank the gentleman for yielding. let me just say, first, as a member of both the appropriations and the budget committee, i rise in strong opposition to this rule. the allocations provided under this rule will savage vital programs that protect the public health and safety, promote and develop our work force and educate the next generation of americans. sequester cuts are already hitting low-income families throughout our country, also in my congressional district, in my home state of california. and every single household in america, especially the millions of americans who are struggling still to find a job, these cuts are hitting them disproportionately. our economy cannot afford these cuts. hungry children do not deserve these cuts. students who depend on pell
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grants, trio and head start do not deserve these cuts. and certainly our seniors and our veterans do not deserve these cuts. the military construction veterans bill on the floor this week assumes the sequester cuts have been replaced. why in the world can't we do this for the other bills as well? we all know that the allocation for the rest of the subcommittees will make it nearly impossible to fund education, senior programs, infrastructure and job creation. while all of us believe it's important to keep the government functioning, governing by continuing resolution is really no way to run the federal government and that's exactly what course we're on, unless we come to some agreement. the majority complains -- excuse me, they claim that they care about the middle class and the poor. yet these cuts really do begin to erode the middle class and forces more people into poverty. so it's time for congress to reject these draconian cuts and replace the sequester with a
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bipartisan agreement on the budget resolution to create jobs and to lift the economy for all. enough is enough, mr. speaker, we need to vote no on the rule and we need to go back to the drawing board. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from florida. mr. webster: thank you, mr. speaker. that last discussion was worth paying the price to come here. but i'd like to say this, to bring it back to where we are, and that is we have before us a rule. this rule is going to be the gateway, the gateway to an open process, that open process, when it opens up, is beautiful to to behold. we have two bills that will be heard, both of those bills are going to be able to be amended by any member that would like to do it. and to me that is what i have served for and i think it's a great -- searched for and i think it's a great thing. we have the opportunity to come to this floor, agree or disagree, but in the end, we'll produce a product that was put
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together by a bipartisan group of members of two different committees, of the appropriation committees. and it went through the regular process, bringing it to the floor with an open rule is the regular process. and i think that is why i'm supporting this rule, because the rule gives the gateway to us doing those bills. and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. mr. hastings: mr. speaker, i would advise my colleague that i have no further speakers and i'm prepared to close. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. hastings: thank you -- does very more speakers? ok. thank you very much, mr. speaker. i guess i have to ask the question at the beginning that mr. van hollen has persisted in asking, and i as well, and others, is why are you afraid to go to conference? i have no idea why you can't do that and follow the regular order. i agree with my colleague that
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this bipartisan mrsa very good thing -- bipartisan measure is a very good thing that we're bringing here. but i also agree with other speakers, that when we finish doing these two bills, and i predict for my friend that we will not reach a single other measure of appropriations for the reason that if you're going to cut 22% from everything else, and you're going to whole -- hold harmless the things that you and i like, then be assured, we're in serious trouble as the appropriations process moves forward. we have a responsibility to implement a budget framework that supports programs which helps americans provide for their families. to stay in their homes and remain competitive in the global economy. the ryan budget picks winners and losers and we're picking two winners today and we're going to have 11 losers on down the road. deem and pass did not work the last congress, it didn't work when democrats thought that they
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could try it and it ain't going to work now. it is long past time that house republicans work together with democrats in conference, just as these two committees did to negotiate a budget and put an end to the devastating sequester. mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to insert in the text of the amendment of the record along with extraneous material immediately prior to the vote on the previous question. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. hastings: mr. speaker, i urge my colleagues to vote no and to defeat the previous question. i urge a no vote on the rule and i'm prepared to yield back the balance of my time, after i ask the question one more time, why are you afraid to go to conference? the speaker pro tempore: does the gentleman yield back his time? mr. hastings:y i, -- yes, i yield. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from florida, mr. webster. mr. webster: thank you, mr. speaker. i'd ask unanimous consent to enter two let into the record. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. -- two letters into the record. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. webster: thank you. the first is a letter from chairman ryan. he asks the rules committee to follow standard practice, by
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addressing budget enforcement, pending a conference report on the budget resolution. to prevent greater uncertainty and further delays the appropriations process. house resolution 243 will include a provision and does claw provision that adopts the -- does include a provision that adopts the house-passed resolution, house con.res. 25. as an interim budget enforcement measure, until an agreement may be reached with the senate on the budget resolution for the coming fiscal year. i'd like to read an excerpt from that letter. it says this, this is from chairman ryan to chairman sessions, ruleses committee chairman, as you know, the budget passed by the house reduces spending by 4.$4.6 trillion and achieves balance by 2023. all without raising taxes on the american people. in contrast, the budget resolution adopted by the senate
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raises taxes by over $900 billion, increases spending by $265 billion and never, ever, ever balances. while i continue 20 work with my senate counter part to find common ground, we have not been able to reach an agreement. then another part of that says, until such time as we are able to reach agreement and consistent with the practice in previous years when the house and senate have been delayed in completing action on a budget resolution, i am asking that the rule include a provision that adopts the house passed resolution -- budget resolution as an interim, interim budget enforcement measure that will allow the appropriation process to proceed without further delay. in the second letter is just a response from representative sessions which is the chair of the rules committee
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acknowledging that the rule would include the requested interim budget enforcement measure. mr. van hollen: would the gentleman yield? i just had a simple question, which is how is it we are going to get agreement from the house and senate in the conference committee if the speaker of the house continues to refuse to go to conference? how are we going to get that agreement? the reason we don't have a conference committee budget report, and you have to use this device, is because there is no conference. the reason there is no conference is bass because -- is because our republican colleagues in the house refused to appoint conferees, which is why we want to pass this amendment. let the members vote on whether or not we go to conference. mr. webster: thank you. reclaiming my time. mr. speaker, i'm not involved in that process, however i can tell you this, and i'm going to close after this, i'm not going to yield back any more time.
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all i can tell you is this. i was a speaker at one point in time in a different body, different time in my career. and even if a conference committee has not been formed, there are discussions that go on. and they go on. eventually there will be a conference committee and things work out. it doesn't necessarily mean that nothing is happening. i think things are happening. i think they are working on solutions. we have to have a solution at some point time and that's happening. mr. speaker, this resolution provides for an open rule to allow all members to offer their ideas and debate them through regular order. two underlying bills fund necessary programs that train, equip, house, and support the brave men and women who defend our freedoms, and also support their families. our debt of gratitude to these individuals does not expire when they retire. so the legislation also funds important programs to provide
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benefits and medical care for our veterans. additionally, the legislation equips our coast guard and supports the individuals who guard our borders, secure our airports, and seaports, and espond to natural disasters. a ever we would be doing great disservice, mr. speaker, to future generation it is we fail to consider the effect of our current spending will have on the future fiscal health and safety of our nation. for that reason these bills reduce costs, require coordination of medical care, and ensure the efficient operation of those critical programs so that we may continue to support those who protect us. i encourage my colleagues to join me in voting in favor of this rule and passage of the underlying bills. i yield back the balance of my time and i move the previous question. the speaker pro tempore: the question is on ordering the previous question on the resolution. so many as are in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the
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ayes have it. mr. hastings: mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from florida. mr. hastings: i ask for the yeas and nays. the speaker pro tempore: the yeas and nays are requested. those favoring a vote by the yeas and nays will rise. a sufficient number having arisen, members will record their votes by electronic device. pursuant to clause 9 of rule 20, the chair will reduce to five minutes the minimum time for electronic vote on the question of adoption. this is a 15-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]
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the speaker pro tempore: on this ote the yeas are --
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the speaker pro tempore: on this vote the yeas are 229. he nays are 193. on this vote the previous question is ordered. the question is on adoption of
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the resolution. so many as are in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. >> i ask for the yeas and nays. the speaker pro tempore: does the gentleman ask for a roll call vote? those favoring a vote by the yeas and nays will rise. a sufficient number having arisen, the yeas and nays are ordered. members will record their votes y electronic device. this is a five-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]
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the speaker pro tempore: on this vote the yeas are 227. the noes are 194. the resolution is adopted. without objection, a motion to reconsider is laid upon the table.
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the speaker pro tempore: please remove your conversations from the floor. please remove all conversations rom the floor. the chair respectfully requests silence so we can begin proceedings. please remove all conversations from the floor. please remove all conversations rom the floor. please remove all conversations rom the floor. please remove all conversations rom the floor.
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for what purpose does the gentleman from texas rise? >> mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to take from the speaker's table senate concurrent resolution 18 and ask for its immediate consideration in the house. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. the clerk will report the title. the clerk: senate concurrent resolution 18, concurrent resolution providing for the use visitors uated in the hall in connection with memorial services to be conducted senate chamber for the honorable frank r. lautenberg, late a senator from the state of new jersey. the speaker pro tempore: is there objection to consideration of the concurrent resolution? hearing none, seeing none, without objection, the concurrent resolution is agreed to, and the motion is laid upon the table.
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for what purpose does the gentleman from texas rise? mr. cull rise -- texas rise? mr. cull ber: i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks on h.r. 2216, and may include tabular material on the same. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. pursuant to house resolution 243 and rule 18, the chair declares the house in the committee of the whole house on the state of the union for the consideration of h.r. 2216. the chair appoints the gentlewoman from florida, ms. ros-lehtinen, to preside over he committee of the whole. the chair: the house is in the committee of the whole house on the state of the union for the
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consideration of h.r. 2216, which the clerk will report by tight. the clerk: a bill making appropriations for military construction, the department of veterans affairs, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending september 30, 2014, and for other purposes. the chair: pursuant to the rule, the bill is considered as read the first time. the gentleman from texas, mr. culberson, and the gentleman from georgia, mr. bishop, each will control 30 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas. mr. culberson: thank you, madam chairman. it is my privilege to present to the house for its consideration with my good friend from georgia, mr. beneficiary yp, -- mr. bishop, the year 2014 appropriations bill for military construction and veterans' affairs. one of the most important obligations this congress has to ensure our men and women in uniform have everything they need to do their job without worry. we think of ourselves on this subcommittee as the peace of mind committee for our military
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so that they can focus on their mission, standing on the walls of rome, protecting our freedom on far corners of the world, and -- orry about the the chair: the gentleman is correct. the house is not in order. members are advised to take their conversations outside of the chamber. the house is not in order. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. culberson: thank you, madam chairman. i think of all the appropriation bills we consider, we are honored to bring this one to the house first because of its importance to our men and women in uniform, to their families, to our veterans who have served our nation. we want to be sure, as i say, that they have no worries.
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that they don't ever have to look over their shoulder and be concerned that the united states congress and the american people support them 110% as we have done in this legislation which my colleague from georgia and i have drafted arm in arm. this is a bipartisan bill that we present to the house today to ensure that the military construction needs of the armed services are fully met. and when our men and women retire and move not vurns affairs system that they will have the best medical care possible, that this backlog that's plaguing us, that disability claims will be cleared as rapidly as possible and we've done this in a way that's also fiscally responsible. we have found every dollar we could that was left unspent from previous years and returned that to the taxpayers. and at the same time making sure that our veterans and our
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men and women in uniform have everything that they need to do their job. our committee has also been very committed to ensuring that their families are taken care of, that the defense department schools on bases are the best that they can be and in the best condition they can be, that they -- i know all of us as parents are concerned about the quality of our kids' education, and the last thing that a man or woman who's overseas who's deployed at a base in the united states has -- we don't want them to worry about the caliber of the school that their children are attending, so we've also placed emphasis on the ability of our military base commanders to contract with the state in which they're located to set up charter schools at their military bases. if the base happens to be located in an area where the local schools can't provide the quality that they need. now, we have in this -- in this
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appropriations bill, as i say, fully funded the veterans affairs -- department of veterans affairs, some of this money is advanced appropriated so while we have a total nding level in this bill for 2014 of $73.3 billion, that's $1.4 billion more than last year and we provide an additional $2.1 billion more than last year for the department of veterans affairs, but of that increase $1.9 billion was provided as an advanced appropriation from previous years. the congress began several years ago to appropriate funding in advance for our veterans affairs department, of course, to ensure because of the uncertainty and unpredictability of the appropriations cycle, again, we want our men and women in uniform and our veterans to have absolute peace of mind and no worries as they serve our
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country or as they move into retirement in the veterans hospital system, so we advance appropriate some of this money. any reductions that we made in this bill, again, were done to make sure that we're doing our part to control spending at at time of record debt and deficit, which is at the top of our mind as fiscal conservatives, we want to ensure we have done everything in our power to reduce the debt, to reduce the burden that's passed onto our children and our grandchildren, so we have not provided money for 10 military projects that they lacked justification. and we funded only what the department of defense expects to spend in fiscal year 2014 for six military construction projects. we've also reduced the funding available for contingency construction account which is not even been used since fiscal year 2008, and we are -- our
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marvelous staff did a good job identifying $659 million in unobligated balances from previous years for construction projects that have been left unspent and were able to return that to taxpayers. ow, we have also reduced the department of veterans affairs' request for funding in a program they overestimated their projections. in the scope of this committee's jurisdiction, we also include military memorials and cemeteries. we made sure those are fully funded and our memorials and cemeteries here in the united states and around the world will be well tended and veterans no matter where they may be in the united states will be able to get the health care and benefits that they have earned by their service to this country. we did everything we could in this bill to ensure that our men and women in uniform are taken care of, that our veterans are taken care of, but we are very concerned about the backlog and the disability
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claims that the v.a. has accumulated, the v.a. has promised us they will have the backlog cleared up by 2015. the bill contains very strong language that holds the v.a. to account ensuring they will give the committee and the congress detailed accounts and reports to ensure that they stay on target. mr. kingston of georgia is going to offer an amendment later which i intend to accept to help ensure that the v.a. holds themselves to the standard they have set for themselves to reduce the backlog. and then finally, madam chairman, i want to mention something we are particularly excited about and our committee chairman, hahl rogers from committee -- hal rogers from kentucky, told us a story of a young man that was wounded in afghanistan -- iraq, who lost one eye, lost eyesight in one eye. as he left the service to go in the v.a. system in order to save his remaining eye, he had
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to have medical records that could be read by the v.a. doctors. and because of the bureaucratic, inefficiency and poor idiocy we have a completely different set of medical records in the d.o.d. and the veterans administration system. for years taxpayers have spent upwards of $1 billion or more over the last 10 years to get the department of defense and the department of veterans affairs operating in a single -- using a single unified medical record so when a young man like this moves out of active service and into the v.a., when it's a time critical surgery, such as this young man needed to have to save his eyesight, the doctors in the v.a. could read those medical records and get him the help he needs. sadly because of bureaucratic inefficiency, refusal to cooperate, the -- i think we are all human, we are all flawed but there is this instinctive i think human
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reaction to, you know, make sure you protect your own turf, whatever it is, the v.a. and the d.o.d. have not adopted a unified medical record and as a result this young man lost his eyesight. he could not get the surgery he needed in the v.a. and he's now permanently blind as a result of the failure of these two departments to do their job. last week, week before last when we were considering this bill in committee, the secretary of defense, mr. hagel, said that the d.o.d. was just going to go ahead and adopt their own medical record system. separate from the v.a. this is just unacceptable, and i ask all my colleagues in congress to work with mr. bishop and i, to work with chairman rogers, ranking member lowey, with the members of the veterans' affairs committee, the members of the armed services authorizing committee and the members of the defense appropriations subcommittee so that we develop identical, parallel language that compels the department of defense and
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the department of veterans affairs to come up with a single, integrated, unified medical record so that no one will ever suffer the fate that this young man did who is now permanently blinded because of bureaucratic inefficiency. it's unacceptable. the congress won't stand for it any longer, and we have strong language in this bill and we'll continue to work to strengthen it to ensure that these men and women as they move from their uniform, their days of uniform service to the country into the v.a. that it is seamless, that it is easy, that they can get their disability claims handled in a timely and efficient manner and they can get their medical records read quickly and efficiently by the doctors in the v.a. system who do such a good job. we deeply appreciate our extraordinary staff working together with my good friend from georgia, mr. bishop, in a truly bipartisan way. i'm proud to present to the house, madam chairman, the 2014 military construction and v.a. appropriations bill for approval by the house, a bill that is fiscally conservative
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and responsible yet fully funds and takes care of our men and women in uniform and our veterans in a way that they deserve, because our men and women who have fought so valiantly for this country deserve nothing less than the very best from the united states congress and we have done this today and i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from georgia is recognized. mr. bishop: thank you very much, mr. chairman, madam chair. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the chair: without objection. mr. bishop: madam chairman, as you know the allocation provides $73.3 billion for the f.y. 2014 military construction-v.a. bill, which is $1.4 billion above the f.y. 2013, and $1 billion below the request. in my opinion, the allocation is what we could have expected had the republican leadership addressed sequestration. madam chairman, i know some folks will say that title 2 of this bill is exempt from
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sequestration, and that is why the bill received a decent allocation. but i just want to point out that the funding in the bill largely mirrors the administration's request, which does not reflect sequestration, even for the portions of the bill that were not exempted. i think that we all agree that we need to address the sequester, and i hope we do it in the near future because if we don't, the long-term effects will be devastating on our economy. with that being said, i'm pleased to join chairman culberson as the house takes up the f.y. 2014 appropriations bill for military construction, veterans affairs and related agencies. the milcon-va bill is critically important for the strength and well-being of our military, our veterans and the families who sacrifice so much to defend our country. in fact, mr. chairman, i find it quite fitting that we are debating this bill immediately after observing memorial day
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last week. working with chairman culberson and the members of our subcommittee, we've crafted a bill that will address the funding needs for military construction and family housing for our troops and their families as well as other quality of life construction projects. in addition, it will provide funding for many important v.a. programs as well as agencies like the veterans court of appeals and the american battle monuments commission. the bill before us today touches every soldier, sailor, marine and airman. in addition, the bill also will impact military spouses, their children and every veteran that participates in v.a. programs. i want to commend the chairman for his work. together we sat through numerous hearings, gaining valuable insight for the workings of all of the agencies under the subcommittee's jurisdiction. also, we'd like to thank our subcommittee members and recognize them for their hard
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work on this bill. i believe that the minority was treated fairly during this process, and i want to thank e chairman for ensuring this bipartisan result. chairman culberson has already provided the funding highlights in the bill and i will not repeat them all, but i'd like to point out a few items that i believe are extremely important. the bill before us today includes $797 million for the renovation and replacement of 17 department of defense schools. i believe that providing the funds for the d.o.d. schools will help our service members' children to get quality education in a safe facility and will give our service members peace of mind. i'm pleased that the bill includes $151 million for the third increment of the landstuhl medical replacement center in germany. as you know, a large portion of
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the serious casualties in afghanistan are treated there, and i'm pleased to see that we are making this important investment. the department of veterans affairs is funded at $63.1 billion, and overall -- excuse me -- the subcommittee recommendation meets the discretionary budget requests in all areas of administrative expenses, research, information technology and facilities. in addition, the bill contains $55.6 billion in advance appropriations for medical services, medical support and compliance and medical facilities at the v.a., which is $1.1 billion above the amount included in f.y. 2013. mr. chairman, i strongly believe that advance funding provides timely and predictable resources for the veterans health care system, and i'm so glad we have been able to do it now for this fifth year in a row. now, i know that a lot of members of this body are deeply
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concerned about the claims backlog and the electronic health records challenge. trust me, the members of our committee, especially chairman culberson and i, have spoken directly to secretary shin secretaryly about this issue -- shin schicky about this numerous times. i think that we have addressed these two problems. excuse me. the bill funds the general expenses that will support 28,851 claims processors, which is 94 more than f.y. 2013, and all 94 new claims processors will work disability claims. second, the bill fully funds the veterans benefit management system at $155 million, and the veterans claims program at
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$136.4 million. these two efforts should speed up the v.a.'s efforts to take old claims that are filed on paper and convert them into digital files that are easily searchable by claims processors, thus speeding up he claims process. secondly, we include a monthly reporting requirement. every 30 days, for the v.a. to provide congress with several statistics such as the average wait time at each regional office, rating inventory that has been pending for 125 days, rating claims accuracy and month-to-month updates in changes in those statistics. third, we require a report on the v.a.'s expedited claims initiative that was anountsed just a few weeks ago -- announced just a few weeks ago. this report, to give the committee and congress insight into whether or not the
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secretary's new initiatives of having positive -- are having positive results. finally, the bill directs the v.a. and the department of defense toward one integrated electronic health record system in bill language and it restricts the availability of funds for the development of a system that meets the requirements of being single, joint, common and integrated with open architecture and is the sole system used by both the veterans administration and the department of defense. this initiative would ensure that veterans get their records to the v.a. electronically, thus reducing the number of claims filed on paper and speeding up the claims process. now, the committee's action, and i want to make this point clear, the committee's action and this bill does not mandate the
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adoption of a particular system. only that it be a single system that is used by both departments. i don't think that we should get into the business of picking the software but i do believe that by mandating a single system between the department of defense and the v.a., that veterans claims of the future will not continue to fall victim to the slow, inefficiencies that we are dealing with today. mr. chairman, i believe that we have a strong bipartisan bill that supports our military, their families and our veterans. and i'd hate to see the hard work of our committee upended by contentious partisan writers intended to score political points, instead of those that serve our nation. i also believe that the most important part of this bill, the resources and accountability provided to assist the v.a. in tackle this -- in tackling this
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outrageous claims backlog. so i say to my colleagues that our committee strongly shares the deep commitment of this body to fixing the claims backlog issue. we looked at numerous approaches and firmly believe that our bill has found the optimal approach in dealing with this pressing concern of our veterans. before i close, mr. chairman, i'd like to recognize the staff for all of the hard work and time they've put into this bill. from minority committee staff, i'd like to thank matt washington, as well as michael reid and adam mccoal mines from my personal staff. -- mccolmes from my personal staff. i'd also like to thank donna, and tracey. i'd also like to thank mrs. lowey and mr. rogers, the chairman and the ranking member, who served so valiantly and who are so diligently trying to seek after the well-being of our service men and women, their
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families and our veterans. at this time, madam chair, i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from georgia reserves. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. culberson: thank you, madam chairman. the house budget that we adopt set a total spending limit of $967 billion and in the three years that we have -- that the republicans have had the majority in the house, under the leadership of mr. rogers of kentucky, for the first time since world war ii, we have reduced annual spending from year to year, each year under chairman rogers' leadership. and it's also, i think, important for the country to know that one of the first and most important responsibilities of the chairman of the full committee is to take that total spending number that's given to us by chairman ryan's budget committee, that $978 billion --
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$967 billion, chairman rogers, one of his first responsibilities is to take that and use it in his best judgment, to allocate or divide that money among the subcommittees and the appropriations committee and it's a real tribute to this good man's commitment, a demonstration of his commitment to our men and women in uniform, vivid illustration of the bipartisan nature of this bill that with the help of ranking member lowey, the chairman rogers gave this subcommittee, for military construction and v.a., allocation that full yen abled -- that enabled us to fully fund the request to the military and the veterans affairs and it is my privilege now, madam chairman, to recognize the distinguished chairman of the full committee, hal rogers of kentucky, who has done sop -- harold rogers of kentucky who has done so much to save our taxpayers' hard-earned dollars and has done everything that can be done to help support our men and women in uniform. i yield him as much time as he may consume. the chair: the gentleman from
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kentucky is recognized for such time as he may consume. mr. rogers: i thank the chairwoman and the chairman for the generous introduction and, madam chairman, i rise in support of this, the first of 12 appropriations bills that i hope to bring to the floor under regular order. although we received the president's budget nearly two months beyond the deadline, i have every intention of drafting and considering all 12 appropriations measures in a timely fashion and in the traditional open process that allows all members to have their say in how taxpayer dollars should be spent. so as we kick off the appropriations season on the floor today, we face some of the most challenging circumstances in recent memory. a tarty -- tardy presidential budget, a divided congress, the
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ham-handed cuts of sequestration and historically low funding levels. given our tight budget, my committee has and will continue to prioritize funding in areas of the highest national need, our security answered forcement of law -- and our enforcement of law. however, virtually all areas of the government will face cuts this year. including critical national security programs. clearly this is an austere budget year, to put it mildly. our top-line number is severely low and billions apart from the senate's number. it's -- it's my sincere hope that there will soon be a budget compromise that will undo the harmful sequestration law and give us a single common top-line allocation that we can work with
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the senate to pass all of the funding of the government. in spite of all this, i want to reiterate my commitment to regular order. this is not a pie in the sky endeavor. it's what our founding fathers wanted and directed in the constitution. under regular order, each of my esteemed colleagues in this body will have their chance to put their stamp on this bill. to have their voices heard and represented on these must-pass bills. we've got a lot of work to do and a very limited amount of time so i suggest we get down to it. today we're considering the military construction and v.a. bill, a truly bipartisan effort that this entire body can and should support. this bill funds critical department of defense infrastructure that gives our men and women in uniform the
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quality of life they deserve, including hospitals, schools, family housing. this bill also includes $63.1 billion to provide our veterans with the benefits and care they've earned for their service. notably we support medical treatment for 6.5 million veterans, including funding for traumatic brain injury treatment, suicide prevention and important mental health care programs. the bill also addresses two of the v.a.'s biggest problems, madam chairman. the disgraceful disability claims backlog and the lack of a seamless, coordinated department of defense veterans electronic health care system. the bill includes funding that will jumpstart efforts to clean up the backlog and force d.o.d.
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and v.a. to get moving on a system that should have been in place years ago. but this is not the easiest of budget times. while most of the funding in this bill is not subject to sequestration, we cannot in good conscience let a sickle dash -- let a single dollar in this bill go to waste. every nickel and dime appropriated was carefully assessed to ensure these funds are used properly, efficiently and responsibly. we took the difficult but responsible step to reduce military construction funding to offset the increases in v.a. spending, but we made these reductions without affecting military readiness or effectiveness. to make sure that our careful work in this bill does not go to waste, we've implemented strict oversight protocols and we've included certain benchmarks to help guarantee that disability
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claims are not piling up again and that we aren't throwing away precious taxpayer dollars, as we try to get this system up and running. before concluding, madam chairman, i'd like to spend a half-minute here thanking the chairman of the milcon subcommittee, on our committee, john culberson, for his time and attention to this bill and his dedication and perseverance, as well as the work of the running backing member, mr. bishop -- of the ranking member, mr. bishop. this combination of these two gentlemen of the house, dedicated appropriators, have spent untold hours working with each other to try to come to agreement on the items in this bill. and it's worked. and it's a good example, perhaps the best i can think of, where , in e bipartisanship
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support of our military and our veterans. so i want to congratulate mr. culberson and mr. bishop for a job well done. we thank you for your bipartisanship. madam chairman, i think this bill is one that members on both sides of the aisle can wholeheartedly support. to keep our military in fighting form and give our veterans the benefits that they have so sincerely earned. many of them in the loss of limb. some in the loss of life. so i urge our colleagues to support this bill and i thank the gentleman for yielding. the chair: the gentleman from texas reserves. and the gentleman from georgia is recognized. mr. bishop: i thank the gentlelady. at this time i would like to
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yield three minutes to the distinguished gentlelady from new york, the ranking member of the appropriations committee, who, along with the entire linda: and members on this -- entire leadership and members on this side of the aisle, is committed to this product in support of our military construction needs and our veterans. the chair: the gentlelady from new york is recognized for three minutes. mrs. lowey: thank you, madam chairwoman. i would like to thank our distinguished ranking member bishop, i would like to thank chairman culberson, i would like to thank chairman rogers, i would like to thank all the outstanding staff for putting together a really good bipartisan bill. it's an important bill and i know how hard you worked together to produce a really good project -- product, and we thank you. this bill does represent a
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reasonable approach and continues a long commitment to our veterans and our military facilities. it continues the bipartisan tradition of providing funding levels that members on both sides of the aisle could agree are appropriate. while avoiding contentious riders. ve however, the republican majority's refusal to go to conference, to forge a bipartisan agreement on the budget resolution really sun acceptable. this imperils this year's appropriation process, making it nearly impossible to move all 12 bills. instead it is likely that we will consider in the full house only a few bills with reasonable allocations, including milcon -v.a., while others are left in
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limbo indefinitely until we pass the continuing resolution. i'm optimistic that this bill has a good chance of enactment. as long as we don't attach any controversial riders. but other important priorities will assuredly suffer. while veterans programs are $73.3 from sequestration, provided in the bill largely mirrors the administration's request and does not reflect sequestration, even to the portions of the bill that were not exempted. in fact, the differences between this bill and the administration's request are relatively small, an adjustment of $1.05 billion, due to bid savings and other project adjustments. and the misguided decision not to provide $185 million for the
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requested 2014 civilian pay aise. if they assume the sequester cuts have been misplaced, why can't we assume it will be addressed to the other bills? on a positive note, this bill would better support our female veterans struggling with the trauma of sexual assault and those in need of prosthetics. it also continues to focus on the mental health needs of our nation's veterans. the bill, which takes several steps related to the shameful veterans' claims backlog, would hire 94 -- the chair: the gentlelady's time has expired. mr. bishop: i yield the gentlelady an additional minute. mrs. lowey: it would provide $155 million for the veterans benefits management system and more for the claims intake
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program to significantly speed up claims by converting old paper files into digital files. restricts funds to force d.o.d. and the v.a. to use a seamless electronic health records system and require the v.a. to provide monthly reports. we cannot accept any further excuses. the v.a. must make progress. this is a good bill. i hope we can avoid adding contentious and unnecessary legislative riders today, and i hope that the chairman from kentucky's optimism about sequestration reflected in the allocation for the first bill is proven true. i commend the chairman and ranking member once again on their good work and i urge your support. the chair: the gentleman from georgia reserves, and the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. culberson: madam chairman, at this time i'd like to recognize the gentleman from nebraska, mr. fortenberry, for
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two minutes. the chair: the gentleman from nebraska is recognized for two minutes. mr. fortenberry: thank you, madam chair. first, let me thank chairman culberson for his stalwart leadership on this bipartisan measure. let me also thank ranking member bishop as well for his leadership and support. madam chair, many people in america want congress to find constructive solutions, seek good answers, overcome problems and say yes to our essential needs. while congress is stuck in certain areas, this bill takes a bipartisan step forward in the defense of our country and in service to our veterans. this bill says yes in a bipartisan manner to meet our department of defense infrastructure needs and to properly care for those who have served us so well, our veterans. the bill spends a little bit less than the president asked for and a little bit more than last year. projects that are not justifiable are removed, but others receive increases, and the bill pushes forward, as we've heard, a seamless
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transition of care when our war fighters leave active service by integrated their medical records and expeditiously dealing with a very serious claim backlog. i am pleased as well, madam chair, that my colleagues have continued funding for the headquarters construction of the united states strategic command. stratcom is an important force in protecting our nation from nuclear threats. madam chair, we need to continue to work hard and smart to reduce budgets while also delivering essential policy needs that are necessary and fundamental at a federal level. i think that this bill accomplishes that goal. madam chair, i think we also accomplish the goal of doing what is just and what is right. with that i yield back and thank the chairman. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from texas -- mr. culberson: reserves. the chair: reserves and the gentleman from georgia is recognized. mr. bishop: thank you very much. at this time i yield two minutes to the gentleman from north carolina, mr. price, the ranking member of the
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appropriations subcommittee on homeland security, and the distinguished member of the milcon-va subcommittee, mr. price. the chair: the gentleman from north carolina is recognized for two minutes. mr. price: i thank my colleague for yielding. madam chairman, i rise today in qualified support for the fiscal year 2014 military construction, veterans affairs and related agencies appropriations bill. i want to thank chairman culberson and ranking member bishop for their leadership and thank the members on the appropriations committee for their cordial and timely delivery of process. i have to caution, however, that this bill's relatively generous allocation must be viewed in the context of the overall fiscal year 2014 appropriations process. to get workable allocation for the two appropriations bills we will consider this week, the majority has drastically underfunded other critical propings bills -- from -- appropriations bills from education, to health care, to
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maintaining our crumbling infrastructure. earlier today i joined with many colleagues to vote against the rule for providing consideration of the bill before us because the resolution requires this body to carry out the fiscal 2014 appropriations process within the framework of the so-called ryan budget which doubles down on sequestration and will have devastating consequences as our nation continues its economic recovery. so the overall appropriations process is in deep trouble, but e bill before us gives the departments of defense and veterans' affairs the opportunity to address several needs. it will fully fund the president's request for military construction, projects at fort bragg, which is adjacent to my district. it provides critical funding for the department of veterans affairs to ensure those who have served our country receive the benefits and services that
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they need and deserve. i pay heed to the ongoing disabilities claims backlog issue at the v.a. the bill provides nearly $300 million for the continuing implementation of electronic management systems and improve processing of both new and existing claims. i'm also pleased the bill provides robust funding for medical and prosthetic research, suicide prevention and mental health treatment, addressing unacceptable levels of unemployment among veterans and pressing to end veteran homelessness. these are the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. price: this is a bill i hope our colleagues -- the chair: an additional 30 seconds. mr. price: this is priorities and this is a bill i hope our colleagues will be able to support and i yield back. the chair: the gentleman reserves and the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. culberson: madam chairman, i'd like to recognize a distinguished member from our committee, the gentleman from florida, mr. diaz-balart. the chair: the gentleman from florida is recognized for how long, mr. chairman?
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mr. culberson: for two minutes. the chair: for two minutes. mr. diaz-balart: i rise today in strong support of the fiscal year 2014 military construction, veterans affairs and related agencies appropriations bills. let me first of all thank chairman cullferson and your staff. you've -- culberson and your staff. you've done a spectacular job. this is the most inclusive process i've been involved with so thank you. madam chairman, this bill includes $10 million for critical military construction projects as well as imperative putting for the nato security investment fund. our bull fully funds the fiscal year 2014 national guard and reserve construction programs as requested, by the way, as well as fully funding the family housing construction program. the bill also includes $55.6 billion in f.y. 2015 advance appropriations for v.a. medical care. and that's the level approved in the house budget resolution. it's the same, by the way, as was actually requested. it also provides targeted funding for various information
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technology programs to ensure that the v.a. can tackle the enormous backlog of compensation claims, something that this chairman and chairman rogers have already talked about. these funds will provide the resources that the v.a. indicates it requires to meet its goals of ending the disability compensation claims backlog by 2015. additionally, it includes stringent reporting requirements for the v.a. so that members of congress and the american people can have direct oversight on the progress of the claims backlogs. the committee also included report language to address the issue of prescription painkiller abuse. this important bill also fund critical programs like the american battle monuments commission, the united states court of appeals for veterans' claims as well as cemetery expenses, by the way, including arlington national cemetery. so i thank the chairman. i urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this very important piece of legislation that has been done in a very bipartisan way. i yield back, madam chairman. the chair: the gentleman from texas reserves.
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and the gentleman from georgia is recognized. mr. bishop: thank you very much. and at this time i'd like to yield two minutes to the gentleman from texas, mr. cuellar, a distinguished member of the appropriations committee. the chair: the gentleman from texas is recognized for two minutes. mr. cuellar: thank you, madam speaker, and i have a big concern, also, as my ranking member and as the chairman of the committee, the gentleman from texas, about the claim -- the claims backlog that have existed with the v.a. veterans of all generations deserve a benefits needs to be responsive to their needs. the v.a. is experiencing a huge backlog in processing claims. as of may, 2013, the v.a. claims totaled 843,000 with more than 2/3 that have been pending over 125 days. currently in my congressional district, we're working with over 205 veterans, 60 of them from laredo, 30 of them from
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the valley, 115 of them from san antonio without sending claims from the v.a.'s that have been unresolved for 18 to 24 months, which is unacceptable and it's shameful. i am pleased that the chairman and the ranking member have done a -- done bipartisan work to make sure they can support claims processor. additionally the bill claims necessary -- has the necessary funding so that old claims filed on paper can be converted to digital files, making them more accessible and researchable. i also support the inclusion of monthly reporting requirements of the claims backlog so that way we can put performance measures, also, to make sure that we get rid of this backlog. finally, also, i know a good friend will be having another amendment that i support with him that if the v.a. doesn't do its work, i think some of those bureaucrats should have their pay cut because the v.a. folks
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are not getting their -- the veterans are not getting their benefits, then i think the bureaucrats also. so i want to thank the chairman and the ranking member for all their good work in this bipartisan work and i appreciate their efforts to ensure that veterans receive their benefits and i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from georgia reserves, and the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. culberson: madam chairman, if i could yield myself just a moment -- the chair: without objection. mr. culberson: i want to particularly point out and thank my friend from laredo, mr. cuellar, and i have worked together since 1986 in the texas legislature. the people of the united states often read in the national press how we, you know, democrats, republicans, don't get along. that's just simply not true. henry cuellar and i have been the best of friends since 1986. mr. bishop and i worked beautifully on this subcommittee. this bill is an example of bipartisan cooperation. it's a pleasure to work on this committee where we really don't
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pay attention to party labels. we try to do what's best for the country. this time, madam chairman, it's y privilege to yield, if i could, five minutes to the gentleman from georgia, mr. gingrey, for the purpose -- i yield two minutes to the gentleman from georgia, mr. gingrey, for the purpose of a colloquy. the chair: the gentleman from georgia is recognized for two minutes. mr. gingrey: mr. chairman, first of all, i want to thank you, my colleague from texas, for putting together this critical bill. i know that mr. culberson has been a longtime advocate of the best care possible for our nation's veterans. i want to thank the chairman of the subcommittee for his continued leadership and, of course, that of the ranking member, my georgia colleague, mr. bishop. madam chair, i rise today to bring attention to the recent tragic events at the atlanta v.a. medical center. according to an april report by the inspector general and continued news story,
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mismanagement and lack of oversight at the atlanta facility contributed to at least four deaths. additionally, the atlanta v.a. medical center has admitted that the combination of a large volume of patients and a lack of appropriate tracking has led to patients slipping through the cracks. the mental health unit at the atlanta v.a. medical center has been of particular concern and is at the center of these recent tragedies. mental health is a critical component of care for our veterans, and as our soldiers continue to return home from war, we must ensure that they are receiving the attention and the care that they so justly deserve. i would ask that as this bill moves forward, madam chair, to the senate and to conference, that the chairman and the ranking member join me and the chairman of the authorizing committee to get answers from
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the department of veterans affairs as to why, why we have yet to see those responsible held accountable and what changes the atlanta v.a. medical center is going to make. and i yield and ask that question of the subcommittee chair. mr. culberson: madam chairman, i would say to the gentleman from georgia that both mr. bishop and i and the subcommittee are keenly aware of these terrible tragedies in atlanta and of the very critical and important inspector general's report and we intend to aggressively pursue the recommendations in the inspector general's report and work with you and the delegation from georgia to ensure that this does not happen again. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. gingrey: thank you and i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from texas reserves and the gentleman from georgia is recognized. mr. bishop: may i inquire as to how much time is remaining on our side? the chair: the gentleman from georgia has 12 1/2 minutes remaining. and the gentleman from texas has
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six minutes remaining. the gentleman from georgia. mr. bishop: i thank the gentlelady. at this time i'm delighted to yield two minutes to the gentlelady from texas, ms. jackson lee. the chair: the gentlelady from texas is recognized for two minutes. ms. jackson lee: i thank the distinguished ranking member and distinguished chairman and i know that they have worked collaboratively together on behalf of our veterans. so i rise in recognition of the important work that they have done. and to compliment them for the work that involves fully funding the military construction, and certainly something that rise every moment that i'm amongst veterans, just recently as i was in a town hall meeting and had the veterans affairs department represented, the question came up about benefits. and i was glad that the initiative that has been offered, all of us embrace it, all of us have been fighting to move this backlog forward. now we see the funding of this
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initiative and it is most important. i'm also glad there is a focus for jobs for veterans. i will say that we need to do more because when you talk to our veterans of fares wars, particularly -- of various wars, particularly the vietnam wars, there's always a sense of lack of employment, along with those who come in from iraq and afghanistan. but i do want to raise the point of what we have deemed ourselves into. we have deemed ourselves into a ryan budget that causes a great deal of suffering. a catch $967 billion versus the mark of $1.58 million that would be more helpful, that was produced by the consensus during the budget control act. basically we are ignoring the suffering of middle class and we are allowing the sequestration to run rampant over those who are in need. i can particularly say to you that teachers and school -- in schools in texas are losing $67.8 million. education for children with
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disabilities in texas, $51 million. $620 teachers. ead start is going down with 480 thu children losing their seats. military readiness is being challenged in texas with 22,000 civilians, democratic of defense employees furloughed, law enforcement, public safety funds. texas it lose $1.103,000,000 and we go far and beyond that. we're looking at the fires in the west, the desk station of what happened in west, texas, the tornados, and we see that we're losing coast guard -- 25% reduction. wildlife fires. this is a crisis. we must -- do you have 30 seconds? mr. bishop: i yield 30 seconds. the chair: the gentlelady is recognized for 30 seconds. ms. jackson lee: this is a crisis not only in the making, madam chair, but it is a crisis that is going forward. whether we're suffering from the national institutes of health or the centers for disease control, my main concern is that the middle class is suffering with the sequestration. the ryan budget cannot be deemed
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the appropriations cap as we go through this process of appropriations. there's a desperate need of responding to the middle class, allowing for the continuation of job creation, making sure that we do not lose 15,000 in section 8 vouchers, rural rental health system or community development. the chair: the gentlelady's time has expired. the gentleman from georgia reserves the balance of his time and the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. culberson: i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from georgia. mr. bishop: thank you very much. at this time i yield two minutes to the gentleman from california , representative farr, the ranking member of the appropriations subcommittee on agriculture and a valuable member of the subcommittee on military construction and veterans affairs. mr. farr. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. farr: thank you very much, madam chair, and thank you, ranking member bishop, for that kind introduction. and thank you, mr. chairman, for your leadership on this committee. i've been on this committee
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since i've been on the committee on appropriations and i'm really excited about the ability for us to respond to the quality of life for people in uniform and their families. this is the committee that helps the families with housing, with health care, with child care, with the benefit packages that the military allows. and it's very, very important because we also have the responsibility for the department of veterans affairs. it's the only one-stop in the entire congress, because the senate has no comparable committee where both the responsibility for the active duty and the veterans are in one place. and you know, in this country, you can't be a veteran unless you first have been a member of the department of defense. so it's a continuum of care. if you add up the budgets of both the defense department and veterans part and our military construction, it's the largest of all the budgets that the
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appropriations does. so, it's important that we pay a lot of attention to detail. we've got a lot of issues dealing with not only active duty military and their living conditions, but also conditions, and serious conditions with veterans, and the backlog that veterans have. i think we're on the road to solving that problem. california has the worst backlog in the office in oakland. but the secretary's been paying a lot of attention and putting a lot of technology into it. and i want to commend the chair and the ranking member of this committee for the leadership they've provided in trying to solve it. i also want to commend -- i think the department of defense has the best capital outlay program. t's called the fiscal year improvement plan, i think, something like that. and what it does is all the services, whenever they need anything constructed, they have to go in and compete against
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each other. so it's on merit. and then the most meritous project moves to the top of the list and we've been able to take care of that in a very responsible way. i thank you, madam chair, for allowing -- the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from georgia reserves. the gentleman from texas reserves. mr. culberson: reserves. the chair: the gentleman from georgia is recognized. mr. bishop: thank you very much. at this time, madam chairman, i'd like to yield three minutes to the distinguished gentleman from oregon, mr. blumenauer, for the purpose of a colloquy. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for three minutes for a colloquy. mr. blumenauer: thank you, madam chair. thank you, mr. bishop, for your courtesy. i really would like to thank you, chairman culberson, for your excellent work on this bill. this is a massive undertaking. one aspect here that i want to focus on is the policies, the pentagon has set its sights on good policies. not only do our troops benefit
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but so does the american public. nothing demonstrates this more than the recent defense department's unified facilities -100-01. ufc-2 behind this strange-sounding title is the pentagon's installation master planning document for over 500 installations around the world, four times the amount of space of wal-mart's. this document, updated for the very first time since 1986, has the potential to positive impact every military service member and their families by making our military bases more welcoming, more connected and more livable. however, the uf -- u.f.c.'s only guidance for each branch of the military. in order for it to have a positive and transformative impact, we will need to see strong implementation guidance from each service branch. i believe that this is a priority for the department deaf
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fence, delayed remediation would only serve to harm or set back our military families who deserve nothing but the best. as such, i deeply appreciate the opportunity to work with the chairman and ranking member to include language urging the department of defense to provide an assessment of the progress and barriers to the implementation of ufc-2-100-01. mr. bishop: will the gentleman yield? mr. blumenauer: i'd be happy to yield to the gentleman from georgia. mr. bishop: the gentleman from oregon raise as really important issue that the subcommittee will look into and will work to address in some way as we move through this process. mr. blumenauer: terrific. thank you very much. the chair: the gentleman from georgia reserves. or does the gentleman -- seek further -- mr. blumenauer: i was curious -- reserve. if i have time remaining i was curious if the chairman of the subcommittee feels comfortable
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with working with us to make some progress on this implementation. mr. culberson: of course, we will do all we can to work together. mr. blumenauer: thank you. i really appreciate the opportunity to work with you on this and look forward to making this progress for our military families. thank you. mr. culberson: yes, sir, of course. thank you. mr. blumenauer: thank you. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. mr. blumenauer: i yield back, yes. the chair: the gentleman from georgia is recognized. mr. bishop: madam chair, we have no further speakers on this side. we're prepared to yield back. the chair: the gentleman from georgia yields back. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. culberson: madam chairman, it's a pleasure to bring this bill to the house and to recommend it to every member of the house, to support this bipartisan bill, to make sure that our men and women in uniform, as my good friend, sam farr said, this is such a privilege to be on this kerk the committee that -- the only one in congress that can assure the quality of life and peace of
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mind of our men and women in uniform and our men and women who, once they've served our country, move into the v.a. system and i would urge the adoption of the bill by the members of the house. the chair: does the gentleman yield back? mr. culberson: i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. all time for general debate has expired. pursuant to the rule, the bill shall be considered for amendment under the five-minute rule. during consideration of the bill for amendment, the chair may accord priority in recognition to a member offering an amendment who has caused it to be printed in the designated place in the congressional record. those amendments will be considered read. the clerk will read. the clerk: be it enacted that the following sums are appropriated for military construction, the department of veterans affairs and related agencies for 2014. namely, title 1, department of
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defense, military construction, $1,099,875,000 to remain available until september 30, 2018. military construction, navy and to ne corps, $1,616,281,000 remain available until september 30, 2018. military construction, air 127,273,000 to remain available until september 30, 2018. military construction, defensewide, including transfer f funds, $3,707,923,000 to remain available until september 0, 2018. the chair: for what purpose does the gentleman from georgia seek recognition? >> i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: amendment offered by
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mr. broun of georgia. pages 4, line 14, after the dollar amount insert, reduce by $38,513,000. page 5, line 6, after the dollar amount insert, reduce by $38,513,000. page 63, line 6, after the dollar amount insert, increase by $38,513,000. the chair: the gentleman from georgia is recognized for five minutes. mr. broun: thank you, madam chairman. my amendment would zero out our contribution to the brand new nato headquarters in brussels. and transfer that amount, more than $38 million, to the spending reduction account, to help us deal with our debt. this line item was -- within the bill is the very definition of ridiculous. u.s.'s furloughing civilian military personnel and sacrificing our own military readiness here at home. policies with which i disagree.
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and yet here we are spending -- sending millions of dollars overseas to build a lavish new headquarters for the international bureaucrats in nato. madam chairman, the planed nato head quarters are an unfortunate example of excess and waste. while every nato member nation is cutting back on overall spending, the new headquarters remains on track as a monument to bureaucracy. in total, the building will cost well over $1 billion to build and it's taken 13 years just to finalize the plans. if we are serious about confronting our spending problem, we must fundamentally reevaluate our priorities -- re-evaluate our priorities. we don't need to help nato build a new headquarters. we need to ask, what are we doing in nato in the first place?
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the cold war is over. it's time to stop policing europe. and start worrying about our deficit. i encourage all members to support this commonsense amendment to help us reduce our spending and to pay off our unsustainable debt. i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? mr. culberson: i rise in opposition to the amendment. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. culberson: i share my colleague from georgia's passion and commitment to reduce the deficit, to avoid passing on this debt to our children. this bill has bipartisan support and it's been put together very carefully to ensure that we're supporting our men and women in uniform. and i'm looking forward to finding ways to save money in other parts of the appropriations bill and in the parts of the budget that are actually truly crushing our kids with debt and deficit.
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it's the social safety net that has grown so tremendously that is causing the greatest burden on our kids, the social security and medicare and medicaid, the growth of these programs has been so astronomical it's swallowing up almost all of our national income on an annual basis. and that's where we need to focus our attention, is saving those programs from bankruptcy. in fact, the -- that's where we will really save the big money for our children in the future. medicare is so -- is in such dire straits that if you're 54 years of age or younger, the medicare hospital fund can only pay about 50 cents on the dollar of the benefits that have been promised. so the medicare program, for all intents and purposes, for people that are 54 years of age or younger, is bankrupt. and social security program, if you're 47 years of age or younger, that program is bankrupt because it can only pay about 60 cents on the dollar. so we've got to, as a congress, in order to save our nation from bankruptcy, to save our kids from crushing levels of taxation
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, to prevent this mountain of debt from being passed on to our children, save medicare and social security from bankruptcy and that's what congressman ryan, chairman of the budget committee, is working on, congressman sam johnson from the ways and means committee is working on legislation to save social security and those are the -- that's where we're going to save the big money. on things like nato, we have over -- over 600,000 troops in europe. we have 127 military installations. i am no fan of the united nations but nato has served a vital role since world war -- since the emmed of world war ii in preserving the peace in europe. we've expanded nato membership now to the former countries of the eastern -- of eastern europe thave behind the iron curtain. it was nato and the leadership of president ronald reagan and the resolute courge of our men and women in uniform that -- courage of our men and women in uniform that led to the collapse of the iron curtain but for nato, but for that strategic
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alliance we may still be facing communist russia and today the soviet union is gone, the iron curtain is gone and many of those nations that were once in the soviet block are members of nato. so with great respect from my colleague from georgia and his conservative effort to balance the budget, let's save social security and medicare from bankruptcy first and foremost as the most effective long-term way to save the nation from bankruptcy and to get us back on track to a balanced budget but for -- look for other opportunities to save money in our multiple appropriations bills that are coming up but not at the expensive a great strategic alliance that's served this nation well since the end of world war ii and i'd urge my colleagues to vote against this amendment and i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. mr. bishop: move to strike the last word. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. bishop: i thank you. i'd like to join my distinguished chair in opposition to this amendment.
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i certainly appreciate and understand the gentleman from georgia's commitment to reducing the deficit. the deficit is something that is undermining the economic foundation of this nation and it is like a cancer that's eating away at us, and we have to do all we can to reduce that deficit and get us on track to a balanced budget. however, i suspect that this amendment, while well intended, may be penny-wise and pound foolish because nato, this account from which these funds will be taken, supports a strategic alliance that's helped to protect the american people. just over the last decade, nato has been our strategic partner in the war against terrorism in iraq and in afghanistan and our efforts to protect the american people and to protect us abroad. we simply can't afford to turn
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our backs on our allies who've stuck with us and who've supported us in our efforts to protect this world from the bad actors in the war against terrorism. and as a result of that, i reluctantly oppose the gentleman's amendment. while undering and commending him for his commitment -- the gentleman's amendment while understanding and commending him for his commitment toward deficit reduction. the chair: the gentleman yields back. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from georgia. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the noes have it. mr. gingrey: madam chair. the chair: the amendment is not agreed to. pursuant to clause -- does the gentleman from georgia seek a recorded vote? mr. broun: yes, madam, i request the yeas and nays. the chair: pursuant to clause 6 of rule 18, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the
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gentleman from georgia will be postponed. the clerk will read. the clerk: page 5, line 10, military construction, army national guard -- $315,815,000 to remain available until september 30, 2018. military construction, air national guard -- $107,800,000 to remain available until september 30, 2018. military construction, army reserve -- $174,060,000 to remain available until september 30, 018. military construction, navy reserve -- $32,976,000 to remain available until september 30, 2018. military construction, air force reserve -- $45,659,000 to remain available until september 30, 2018.
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north atlantic treaty organization security investment program $19 -- the chair: the clerk will suspend. for what purpose does the gentleman from georgia seek recognition? mr. broun: madam chairman, i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: amendment offered by mr. broun of georgia. page 8, line 12, after the dollar amount insert reduced to zero dollars. page 63, line 6, after the dollar amount insert increase by $199,700,000. the chair: the gentleman from georgia is recognized for five minutes. mr. broun: thank you, madam chairman. i appreciate your recognizing me for five minutes. my amendment would zero -- totally zero out the nathan sykes security investment program -- nato security investment program and transfer into the spending reduction account. the world has changed
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dramatically since the creation of nato. its mission, as stated by the first secretary general, is, quote, to keep the russians out, the americans in and the germans down, unquote. i have a hard time seeing how this is relevant to our post-soviet world, and a post-cold war world. in this modern age and at this time of domestic fiscal emergency, it makes no sense for the united states to manage the defense of europe through nato, and it certainly makes no sense for us to pay such a large share of it. it's time for us to wind down our involvement in nato. instead of making up new justifications for this defense warfare. madam chair, our nation's broke. we have an unsustainable debt.
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we're spending money that is going to crush our children's future and make their future much dimmer than it is today. we have to reallocate our resources and put them towards what's going to deal with this unsustainable debt. we got to stop this out-of-control spending. both parties are guilty of doing so. this amendment, though some would say nearly $200 million is just a paltry amount, when our soldiers and sailors, airmen and marines are not getting the finances that they need, and when americans are struggling just to make ends meet and we have an economy that is really hurting and jobs not being created and students not having jobs when they graduate from college, we have o deal with this debt that's
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unsustainable. this is $200 million that would be transferred into the spending reduction account and help us to start, just a small start, to stop this out-of-control spending. it's absolutely critical that we do so. i urge my colleagues to support this amendment and vote for it and i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? mr. culberson: madam chairman, i rise in opposition to the amendment and move to strike the last word. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. culberson: i oppose this amendment because i of course share the gentleman's concern about the debt, the deficit. as i mentioned a moment ago, the way we're going to save the country from bankruptcy and protect our kids from this crushing debt burden they're about to inherit is to rescue social security and medicare from their certain bankruptcy which is just around the corner. and the republican, constitutional conservative majority of the house, is working hard to develop legislation to save those two programs from bankruptcy, but
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this amendment would zero out the funding that the congress has invested in the acquisition and construction of military facilities and installations for nato. nato's been a vital part of our nation's security since the end of world war ii. we have over 600,000 men and women in uniform in europe who depend on the resources that this congress provides to them in part through the work of nato. our -- we have 127,000 military installations in europe that depend in part on the work that is done through our contribution to nato. and if the gentleman offers an amendment later on the foreign -- operations bill, to cut funding for the united nations, i look forward to supporting that because i have no particular love for the united nations. we contribute the vast -- the majority of money that the united nations receives and they happily vote against us at every opportunity. but when it comes to nato,
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that's a strategic importance to the security of the united states, and while i share the gentleman's passion to cut the deficit and the debt, let's save it for cutting nato and foreign aid other than for israel. i'm wearing proudly the state of texas and the state of israel. except for our funding for the great state of israel which we need to preserve and protect, i will cut funding for the united nations but not nato. and i urge the house to reject this amendment. i happily yield to my friend from georgia. mr. broun: while i appreciate the comments from my dear friend from texas, he and i have been involved in trying to cut spending in many ways for a long period of time. i assure you i'll have amendments -- in fact, i have a free standing bill to zero out spending from the united states because i -- of the united nations. i want to get the u.n. out of the u.s. and the u.s. out of the u.n. and so that's to come, i
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promise you. that will be coming. i'll give you that opportunity. and you're exactly right. social security and medicare need to be fixed so that our senior citizens and poor people have the proper health that they need and i'm all for that too. mr. culberson: and are paid into and guaranteed and should be guaranteed. mr. broun: we need to cut where we can. we need to reorder our -- i'm a marine. i was deployed to afghanistan last year as a navy reservist and i believe in a strong military. i believe in -- peace through strength, and we've got to have the strongest military in the world. i don't believe our military should ever be in a fair fight. we need to be in a fight that's overwhelming. but nato is a relic of the cold war. it's a relic that we need to look at and when we have such a huge debt, almost $17 trillion,
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we need to cut wherever we can whenever we can and i think it's extremely important for us to reorder our priorities, particularly across the world and getting rid of this money for nato is the way of doing it and i yield back. thank you. mr. culberson: madam chair, the gentleman is correct, $200 million is a lot, but we have to preserve our investment in nato. i'd point out that the former soviet union is sending submarines into the gulf of mexico. the former soviet union, now russia, is aggressively sending their strategic nuclear bombers, pushing up against the outer limits of our airspace around guam and around alaska. o the russians are no longer overtly and not communists but they are not necessarily our friends. they and the communist chinese are aggressively attacking the united states in the
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cyberworld. if a state of war could be declared in the cyberworld, a state of war already exists. the communist chinese have already attacked us and are at war with the united states over the internet and in russia as well. they are not our friends, and we, of course, look for every opportunity to work together with them but nato is a vital part of america's strategic security, and i would urge the defeat of the gentleman's amendment and yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from georgia is recognized for five minutes. mr. bishop: again, i certainly understand and commend the gentleman for his commitment and his passionate support for reduction of the debt and the deficit and i think that we on this side of the aisle join him in that quest. however, again, i submit that this amendment is probably one that is penny wise and pound foolish. we have an alliance with the
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countries in nato. those countries have been our staunch supporters in the operation iraqi freedom, our efforts in afghanistan and of course each of those nato countries has a developing presence of al qaeda just as we in the united states. so it's very, very important that we maintain that strategic alliance, and this amendment would cut our share of the esponsibility for nato which we share with the other member countries and i think that since we are deriving a mutual benefit that we should have a mutual responsibility for support, this joint support and i think that it would not be wise for us to withdrawal our aspect of that support. we should assume our responsibility with our allies, for the mutual support and the mutual benefits. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from georgia yields back the balance of his time. the question is on the
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amendment offered by the entleman from georgia. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the noes have it. he amendment is not agreed to. the clerk will read. the clerk: pages 8, line 14, family housing construction, army, $44,800,000 to remain available until september 30, 2018. family housing operation and 5871,000. e, $512, family housing construction, vy and marine corps, $73,407,000 to remain available until september 30, 2018. family housing operation and maintenance, navy and marine $389,844,000.
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family housing construction, air rce, $76,360,000 to remain available until september 30, 2018. family housing operation and maintenance, air force, $388,598,000. family housing operation and maintenance, defensewide, $55,845,000. department of defense, family housing improvement fund, $1,780,000. chemical demilitarization construction defensewide, $122,536,000 to remain available until september 30, 2018. department of defense base closure account, $451,357,000. administrative provisions, section 101, none of the funds malbe expended for payments for
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construction where estimates exceed $25,000. section 102, funds shall be available for higher passenger motor vehicles. section 103, funds may be used for the federal highway administration for construction of access roads. when projects authorized are certified as important to the national defense. section 104, none of the funds may be eyesed to begin construction of new bases for which appropriations have not been made. of the funds ne shall be used for the purchase of land in excess of 100% of the value as determined by the army corps of engineers. section 106, none of the funds shall be used to acquire land. section 107, none of the funds for miner construction may be used to transfer any activity from one base to another without prior notification to the
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committee. section 108, none of the funds may be used for procurement of steel for which american steel producers have been denied the opportunity to compete for such steel procurement. section 109, none of the funds for military construction may be used to pay real property taxes in any foreign nation. section 110, none of the funds may be used to initiate a new installation overseas without prior notification to the committees. section 111, none of the funds may be obligated for architect contracts to exceed $500,000 for projects in japan. section 112, none of the funds for military construction may be used to reward any contract to exceed $1 million to a foreign contractor. section 113, the secretary shall inform the committees of any proposed military exercise if a amount expended are participated
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to exceed $100 million. section 114, funds for construction shall be available for each such military department by the authorization s. section 115, for projects being completed with funds otherwise expired, expired or lapsed funds may be used. section 116, funds for the construction of military projects may be obligated before the end of the fourth fiscal year after the fiscal year for which funds were made available. including transfer of funds, section 117, proceeds deposited to the department base closure account may be transferred to the account established by section 2906-a-1 of the defense base closure and realignment act of 1990. including transfer of funds. to prior 8, subject
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notification, such amounts as maybe determined may be transferred to the department family housing improvement fund for amounts appropriated for construction and family housing accounts. including transfer of funds. section 119, amounts may be transferred from the accounts established by the defense base closure and realignment act of 1990 to pay for expenses associated with the homeowners assistance program. section 120, funds made available for operation and maintenance of family housing for repairs and maintenance of all family housing units. the chair: for what purpose does the gentleman seek recognition? >> i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 1 printed in the congressional record offered by mr. griffith of virginia. the chair: the gentleman from virginia is recognized for five minutes. mr. griffith: thank you, madam chair. this is a simple little amendment.
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currently any expenditures that a flag officer or generals housing onbase has to be reported if there's an expenditure in excess of $35,000. this lowers this number down to $15,000. it doesn't mean they can't do the work, it just means that if they're going to spend more than $15,000 they have to file a report with congress before they do so. in this day and age where we're trying to make sure that we're spending the taxpayers' money wisely, this seems to be appropriate. my wife and i put a roof on our house a couple of years ago for about $15,000. if they need more than that, that's fine. but make a report to congress. if there's something terribly wrong with the flooring and it costs more than $15,000 they can report it. but most repairs to a home can be done under $15,000. this is just simply saying, hey, tell white house you're doing so we can have a more transparent expenditure and a more transparent government and i reserve the balance of my time for any comments if necessary. the chair: the gentleman yields
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back the balance of his time. mr. griffith: thank you, ma'am. the chair: for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? mr. culberson: i'd like to rise in support of the gentleman's amendment and we'd be happy to accept that. i think it's perfectly reasonable to report if you're going to spend more than $15,000. certainly we want to make sure our officers have everything that they need but it would be nice to have them report it. i'd be willing to accept the gentleman's amendment if my colleague from georgia's in agreement. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from virginia. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, ayes have it. the amendment is agreed to. does the gentleman from georgia seek recognition? from pennsylvania, sorry. >> madam speaker, i rise seeking to strike the last word. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes.
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mr. fattah: thank you. i just wanted to come to the floor. i've had the opportunity to serve on this subcommittee under the leadership of my great friend from texas and our ranking member, congressman bishop from georgia, and the focus of the work has been a bipartisan process, to come up with the best possible set of proposals to move our country forward, to respond to our needs in terms of military construction. but i rise today in particular to thank the two leaders of the subcommittee and in particular the chairman for his great leadership on veterans benefits. i had breakfast with general shinseki and the staff of the v.a. i think has been clearly moved by the ranking member and the chairman's insistence that we deal with the challenges around the backlog. i want to particularly note the great work in this bill on neuro science and brain disorders. the chairman and i began some
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work together and the c.j.s. appropriations process a year and a half ago which has moved our country i think forward in terms of dealing with this some 600 different brain diseases and disorders in a much more aggressive fashion. and we compliment the president on the brain initiative. but right here in this v.a. bill there's actual concrete steps being taken to deal with posttraumatic stress, to deal with trauma brain -- traumatic brain injury, and i had a nobel prize laureate who's done work on tv, i come to say that the focus with you he -- we put on this has been so important because some 40% of our injured veterans have some type of traumatic brain injury or posttraumatic stress challenges that they face. i've visited the intrepid center. i didn't want this moment to pass without thanking the two leaders of the subcommittee for their work.
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i could go on and on about the epilepsy centers of excellence but i know i only have a few minutes so i'll cease here. i want to thank them because it won't necessarily be recorded. but in the lives of tens of thousands of our veterans and servicemen, differences in their life circumstances will be made for the positive because of what's in this bill. so thank you and i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. and the clerk will read. the clerk: pages 18, line 24, section 121, amount in the florida island improvement account, shall be available until expended, section 122, none of the funds may be obligated or expended to carry out a military construction for the purposes of supporting a function that has been approved for realignment to another installation. section 123, including transfer of funds during the five-year period after appropriations for military constructions, have expired, unobligated balances
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may be transferred into the appropriations foreign currency fluctuations construction defense account. section 124, none of the funds may be used that relates to the expansion of the boundaries of the opinion canyon maneuver site in colorado. section 125, except as provided in subsection b, none of the funds may be used by the secretary to reallocate, to relocate a unit in the army that performs a testing mission. ection 126, $89 million, including a rescission of funds. section 127, $49,920,000. including rescission of funds. section 128, $358,400,000. including rescission of funds. section 129, $50 million. including rescission of funds. section 130, $16,470,000. including rescission of funds. . ction 131, $45,623,000
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including rescission of funds. section 132, $50 million. section 133, $4,668,000. section 134, the secretary may obligate additional funds necessary to complete the explosive research and development loading facility pick anyoney arsenal, new jersey. ection 135, $75 million. title 2, department of veterans affairs, veterans benefits administration, compensation and pensions, including transfer of unds, $71,248,171,000. eadjustment benefits, $13,135, 898,000. veterans insurance and indemnities, $77,567,000. veterans housing and benefit
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program fund, for direct and guaranteed loans, such sums as may be necessary, for administrative expenses, $1 58,433,000. occasional rehabilitation loans program account for direct loans, $5,000. for administrative expenses, $354,000. native american veteran housing loan program account, $1,109,000. veterans health administration medical services -- >> madam chair. the chair: for what purpose does the gentleman from oregon seek recognition? mr. blumenauer: seek to strike the last word. the chair: the gentleman is ecognized for five minutes. mr. blumenauer: as our veterans return home after the conflict in after gab stan and iraq, it's necessary that they get the care they deserve. part of that must be greater
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access to complementry and alternative medicines. based on conversations i've had with veterans in my district and practitioners of alternative medicine, it's too often difficult for the veterans to use these complementry and alternative medicines through the v.a. system. even though research is shing that a holistic approach to treatment, including complementry and alternative medicine can have a huge impact a recent survey by a group that shared their findings two weeks ago, demonstrated the effectiveness of drugless self-care and integrative packtieses of treatment had immediate and long-lasting impact. many practitioners have taken note and are doing their best to integrate the practices and many veterans are seeking out the services. both are encountering institutional barriers and
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limited availability. given the steadfast commitment of this committee to do all it can to increase the quality of the care for our veterans, i would sincerely request the chairman and ranking member to address this issue as the bill proceeds through the process. >> would the gentleman yield? mr. blumenauer: i would be happy to yield. >> the gentleman from oregon raises an important issue that the subcommittee will look into and we will do our best to address a in some way as we move forward through this process. mr. blumenauer: thank you. >> would the gentleman yield? mr. blumenauer: i'm happy to. >> i agree with my colleague from georgia and we look forward to working with you to adress these issues. mr. blumenauer: i appreciate the hard work of the committee and their willingness to work ith us to ensure veterans have
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access to this service. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the -- the chair: the gentleman yields back, the clerk will read. the clerk: administrative medical service, $115,515,115,000. medical support and compliance $5,789,587,000. and shall remain available until september 30, 2015. medical and prosthetics research, $585,664,000 shall remain available until september 30, 2015. the chair: for what purpose does the gentleman seek recognition? mr. blumenauer: i move strike the last word. the chair: does the gentleman offer an amendment? mr. blumenauer: i have an amendment. the chair: the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: amendment offered by mr. blumenauer, after the dollar amount insert the fol
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logue, reduce by $35 million, increase by $35 million. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. blumenauer: thank you, madam chair. i appreciate the courtesy the hair and ranking member have evidenced. i appreciate the fact that the gentleman from texas, we have worked not only on these issues but he's played a critical role on another issue near and dear to my heart dealing with international water tavepls pleasure to work again. those efforts have saved countless lives abod and today this amendment is my hope we can partner again to improve and hopefully save lives right here at home. i helped organize, found, and chair the congressional neurosign caucus. it's clear -- neuroscience caucus. it's clear we are looking for neuroscience research that will lead to higher quality of life for the millions affected by
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neuroscience conditions every year. research in this area has already dwarfed reserm in other areas, and that's before the rates of baby boomers aging are going to drive it further. there are more people with brain disorders than all cancers and heart problem diseases combined. the kansas will increase exponentially but the importance of neuroscience isn't just about the number bus ill im-- but improving the quality of life for those afingted by trauma. no one is more deserving of these breakthroughs than the returning service members affected by traumatic brain injuries or post-traumatic stress disorder. as stated by general peter chirelli, now the c.e.o. of one mind for research and the 32nd chief of staff of the army, t. b.i. and ptsd account for 36%
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of the disabling injuries suffered by soldiers in iraq and afghanistan. he is convinced as i think most of us in congress are, that we must do all we can to help our veterans because these invisible wounds have devastating and long lasting impact. the amendment before the committee is identical to the one that i and congresswoman mcmorris rodgers, who is my co-chair of me neuroscience caucus, offered and had adopted in last year's milcon v.a. appropriations bill. it aims to ensure that the veterans administration continues to have the resources it needs to find innovative new medicines and enhanced diagnostics for what can truly be termed an epidemic. it does not increase or decrease any accounts in the appropriations bill. it simply requires that no less than $35 million of the medical and prosthetic research account goes toward post-traumatic
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stress disorder and traumatic brain injury so we can expedite the cure for active duty personnel and veterans suffering from the effects of brain and psychological trauma incurred during their service. the amendment, i hope, symbolizes a commitment from this congress that even in the midst of sequestration and tight budgets, we will not yield on this critical issue and area of funding. meeting with the neuroscience i'm amazed to hear how this one area of research leads to positive but unexpected breakthroughs, like, for example, in researching depression, scientists found that prozac can help stroke victims recover motor skills more quick thrism account, the military research funds many critical areas of research with direct and indirect links to ptsd and this complementry amendment ensures the links are made, research is shared to everyone's benefit. it's a commitment to using
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resources in a way that allows one scientific inquiry to seek out other areas of impact that will lead to breakthroughs in t.b.i. and ptsd. these items demand our special attention because their affects can so easily harm a sole ear -- soldier's family an loved ones if not properly diagnosed. early deteg and prevention prevents chaos and hardship and in some cases further loss of wlisme must remember our duty to the wounded warriors who face a long retvry. these harms may not be as visible as a missing limb but can be more damaging to a veteran's future. i urge support for theament a commitment that our congress will continue to do all we can to develop new medicines and tknology to improve the lives of those in need. i appreciate the extraordinary courtesy of the subcommittee and respectfully urge adoption of the amendment. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time.
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the gentleman from texas is recognized. >> i have no objection to the amendment, i want to acknowledge and thank the gentleman from oregon for his long labors in support of this work to identify and cure these invisible injuries that many of our soldiers have suffered as a result of concussion, as a result of circumstances of bat until which they find themselves. mr. culberson: we appreciate your good work, sir, and we'll continue to work with you. thank you for the amendment, we have no objection. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentleman from georgia seek recognition >> move to strike the last word. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. >> the gentleman's amendment would require that no less than $35 million go toward traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder research from the medical and prosthetic and medical research account. mr. bishop: i want to bring to the attention of this house that $32 million was already included for this purpose.
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and i do have some concerns regarding the amendment. i understand what the gentleman is trying to do and i agree that ptsd an traumatic brain injury are the two major problems that the v.a. needs to focus on. tens of thousands of veterans have suffered traumatic brain injury. most are mild concussions that get better within a few months but serious ones, multiple concussions, can raise the risk of dementia and other problems. and the gentleman points that out, rightly. with the tight budgets we are facing, i am concerned, however, that -- about where the reduction would come from. for example, account also provides research for prosthetics, for women's health, and gulf war veterans illness. so i want to make sure the gentleman is aware his amendment could cause a short -- called cause -- could cause
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shortfalls in other areas, that are necessary, but i assure the gentleman that the committee and subcommittee will work hard to try to make sure that traumatic brain injury and ptsd are adequately addressed with our resources available for funding research there. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? >> i have an amendment at the desk, madam speaker. >> parliamentary inquiry. the chair: if the gentleman would suspend. we are currently on one amendment so see nothing further requests for time, the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from oregon, those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. the amendment is agreed to. the clerk will read. the clerk: page 31, line 20, national cemetery administration, $250 million,
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departmental administration, general administration, including transfer of funds $403,023,000. general operating expenses, veterans benefits administration, $2,455,490,000. the chair: for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? >> madam speaker, i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: amendment offered by mr. gayay foe of texas, -- gayay go of texas. after the dollar amount insert increase by $5 million. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. gallego: thank you, madam speaker. i'd like to thank my friend longtime -- longtime friend even from the texas legislature, representative culberson, chairman of the subcommittee on military construction and veterans affair as well as mr. wish shp, the ranking democrat on the
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subcommittee, for their work on these important issues. i rise today to offer an amendment to house resolution 2216, the appropriations bill for the dotcht veterans affairs. the amendment is for the brave men and women who have served our country and our veterans. it's simple, it's commonsense, it highlights job training for veterans, helping them to find employment. within the general operating expensers in veterans benefits administration account this would support funding for veterans to become employable and maintain their jobs to meet the work force needs of the 21st century. over the next four years, one million veterans are expected to transition to the work force from the armed services. let's make this specific account vital to the life blood of decreasing our unplace of employment rate for veterans once they return home. 1.6 million veterans call texas home. 64,000 of these men and women ere-side in the 23rd
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congressional district. they have obtained tremendous skill sets while serving our country and yet many have difficulty finding employment after they've completed their service. nearly 700,000 veterans are unemployed. the jobless rate among our veterans is at 6.2%. among veterans who served after 9/11, that rate increases to 7.5%. these men and women who served this country, they put their lives on the line and it's our turn to serve them. let's make sure that congress focuses on training our veterans to meet the needs, the work force needs of the 21st century. we should make a transition from military service to the work force as seamless as possible. lastly this amendment opportunity present any budgetary issues as the congressional budget office confirms the amendment doesn't score, additionally, it doesn't have a net change in funding levels. i encourage my colleagues to stand up for veterans employment in support of a commonsense amendment. i look forward to working to -- with all of you to get
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veterans back to work. thank you and i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? mr. culberson: mr. speaker, mr. chairman, i have no objection to the amendment, we are all committed to make sure our veterans when they return home are fully employed, well taken care of and i think i thank my friend from the texas legislature for offering his amendment and we have no objection. the chair: the gentleman yields back. he gentleman from georgia. mr. bishop: mr. chairman, after returning home from the war, veterans now are fighting for jobs back home. according to the bureau of labor statistics, last year's unemployment rate for veterans was 1.1%. a significantly higher figure than -- 12.1%. a significantly higher figure than that of nonveterans. even more staggering, 19.1% of
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young veterans between the ages of 20 and 24 are unemployed. all veterans, because of their service, have basic skills. and the only thing that they're missing is formal job training to match their abilities for the specific needs of an employer. this is another issue on secretary shinseki's plate. i believe that anything that we can do to help veterans gain employment we should do. i thank the gentleman for raising this issue. i support the amendment and i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from texas. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. the amendment is agreed to. >> move to strike the last word. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
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the sacrifices of the few, our military veterans provide the freedom for the many. mr. swalwell: we know that it is our military veterans who only make up just 1% of our population, provide 100% of our freedom. but far too many of our veterans seeking disability assistance that they rightly earned are running into a severe backlog at the department of veterans affairs. nationwide there are close to 800,000 pending disability claims at the v.a. and almost 550,000 of these claims have been pending for over 125 days. at the oakland v.a., in oakland, california, which serves the 15th congressional district which i represent, the constituents in my district have been waiting on average a staggering 552 days. over 81% of the constituents have been waiting over 125 days.
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this is the longest average wait time across the united states. these numbers are a national disgrace. and i am ashamed that the veterans who have served our country, who have fought so hard, have to wait so long. our military spends $1 dollar 8 billion a year -- $1.8 billion a year, $1.8 with a b, recruiting young americans to join our military. we spend it on nascar, super bowl ads, we send our recruiters out to our schools, to have our young men and women join the honorable profession of defending our country. but we're neglecting the needs of the veterans, we're failing to keep the promises we make after they serve. this weekend i had the opportunity to go to a absolute to new recruits who are going into the military. and i looked at those young, bright faces of young men and women who are going to go off to serve their country and i told them, you are doing something that's very brave and very
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noble. but i hope that your families and you stand up for the benefits that you are rightfully earning because right now, what we're seeing at the v.a. is shameful. mr. chairman, it's shameful that we would treat our veterans like this and not give them benefits that they've earned. so, we're failing to live up to that solemn pledge that we've made to our nation's wounded warriors. that's why this bill is so important. it reaffirms our commitment to caring for the men and women who made the sacrifices to serve in uniform. it contains commonsense solutions to eliminate the disability claim backlog by mandating that the v.a. modernize disability claims process and it also ensures greater efficiency and accountability on the part of the v.a. it would fully fund the president's requested budget to allow for an increase of the staff levels at the veterans benefit administration. these funds would support an additional 94 claims processors, all of whom will work solely on disability claims, helping to address the heart of the backlog.
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increasing staff levels, as we know, however, is not a silver bullet. creating a more efficient, responsive v.a. is also necessary. if the disability claims process is going to be fixed. today the v.a. spends on average 175 days waiting for the department of defense, the d.o.d., to send them a veterans record. -- veteran's record. mostly because these records are still kept in the form of paper files. it's time we bring this process up and into the 21st century. in addition to moving away from paper files, it's clear that it would be far better for service members and veterans as well as taxpayers, for the d.o.d. and the v.a. to maintain one integrated system for electronic health recordses. this bill seeks to move the d.o.d. away from paper and towards an integrated system that can be used both for d.o.d. and the v.a. it also fully funds the veterans claims intake program which is working to convert all those paper records the v.a. receives into digital file. mr. chairman, the constituents of the 15th congressional
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district, who serve so honorably, should not have to wait 552 days for their disability compensation cases to be processed. those parts of the bill that i outlined will help to improve veterans' access to the benefits that they have earned. and enable us to better live up to president lincoln's promise in his second inaugural address, to care for him who shall borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan. president lincoln's words also happen to be at the core of the v.a.'s mission statement. words are not enough. congress must work swiftly to fix the v.a. backlog with practical solutions and fulfill our pledge to veterans. we must leave no veteran behind when they come back. we must make sure that with when we say thank you to a veteran, that we mean it and we follow up with a meaningful, responsive claims proelse is. the funding in this bill helps move us in that direction. thank you, mr. chairman. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. does the gentleman from nevada seek recognition?
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the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: amendment offered by mr. amodei of nevada. page 33, line 5 up to the dollar amount insert the following, reduce by $44 million. increase by $44 million. the chair: the gentleman from nevada is recognized for five minutes. mr. amodei: thank you, mr. chairman. first of all, i would like to thank chairman culberson and ranking member bishop for their effort on bringing forth a good bill that brings forth the -- the needs of our veterans. i rise with this amendment for the first time since i've been in this body because of the existing claims backlog which is over 600,000 claims nationwide. as a member of the primary committee of jurisdiction and the primary subcommittee of jurisdiction on the house veterans affairs committee, i can tell you that in dealing with this number of claims, we are not making mission in the department of veterans affairs. and i can tell you that the proposal to spend $44 million
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according to the veterans affairs testimony in front of our committees, to clear 50,000 of those claims in the backlog is quite simply more of the same. that's about $900 a claim and will leave you with 550,000 claims when it's done this year. i appreciate the opportunity of coming technology. but i can tell you this, if you represent a district that's in california, new york, arizona, indiana, virginia, illinois, pennsylvania, texas, ohio, maryland, another texas hit, boston, or mississippi, which is the majority of members in this house, then guess what? you've got a majority of those claims in your district offices. i say it's time for this house to take action and say this, don't cut a single regional office's budget. this amendment does not attempt to do that. this amendment says, take that $44 million and allocate it for personnel in those 15 offices that all have over a year of processing time. and by the way, while we're
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mentioning that, i want to give you a quote that is from undersecretary hickey that basically says, quite frankly, we have a resource allocation model that doesn't make any sense. that's before the veterans affairs committee. so let's try something new. let's put the staffing where those offices are that in needs of it most, two of them in california, two of them in the lone star state, chicago needs help. you name it. let's try that instead of just doing what we have been doing. adds no money to the bill and also does not take any money away from existing offices. in closing, mr. chairman, i'd like to say this, even though staffing at the v.a.'s 58 regional offices is increased by almost 300 people since september, 2010, because of turnover and loss of more than 2,000 workers temporarily paid through stimulus funds, the v.a. regional offices are severely understaffed. overtime will not be the answer. at a majority of the regional offices, including those in new
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york, chicago, los angeles, waco and oakland, the v.a. presently employs fewer people than it did two years ago, according to their own internal documents. let's take the leadership on this issue and do something that's a little different than, quite frankly, a resource allocation model which the determined undersecretary says makes no sense. i yield back and thank you, mr. chairman. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from texas. mr. culberson: mr. chairman, i move to strike the last word. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. culberson: mr. chairman, i have no opposition to the gentleman's amendment and share his frustration and concern, as mr. bishop and i and our subcommittee have done in this bill, repeatedly throughout the series of our hearings, to literally pound on the v.a. to get them to move more rapidly on this backlog. we have included, mr. bishop and in this bill, very powerful and strong reporting language that we're going to get detailed information on a level that we've never seen before from the v.a. and in fact, later today we're going to have an amendment from mr. kingston of georgia that's going to -- that i will
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support that will hold the v.a. to the same standard as the private sector. in either they meet their performance levels that they have set for themselves or they will not be paid as they are in the private sector. you mace goal, you don't get your full compensation. we are addressing this in a number of different ways. i think the gentleman's amendment is helpful and constructive and driving home the point to the v.a. that it's absolutely vital that we get this backlog disposed of, that we expect the v.a. to live up to the time inline that they've promised us and that is to eliminate the backlog within the next 24 months, by the year 2515. so we have no opposition to the gentleman's amendment and we appreciate his concern for ensuring that our men and women in uniform receive the disability benefits that they have so rightly earned and i will yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from georgia. mr. bishop: move to strike the last word. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. bishop: mr. chairman, i think this is a subject on which we need to tread, very -- tread very, very, very carefuly.
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as we all know, the v.a. announced that it's mandating the use of overtime for claims processors at the 56 regional offices as part of a surge aimed at eliminating the disability claims backlog. this effort is the latest in a serious of measures that the v.a. has adopted in recent months in response to sharp criticism and to the cajoling by the members of this congress and the public over the number of claims pending from veterans seeking disability compensation. that number, which was over 900,000 earlier this year, had fallen to 843,000 as of may 13. with more than 2/3 of those having been pending for over 125 days. i believe that secretary shinseki should and i believe that secretary shinseki is using every option available to him to
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make progress in eliminating this backlog. furthermore, the overtime measure is on top of the v.a.'s recent announcement that it's giving priority to claims that have been pendsing for longer than a year. -- with pending for longer than a year. i believe that the increased overtime initiative, coupled with the expedited claims initiative, will provide more veterans with more expedited decisions on their claims and will help us to achieve our goal of eliminating the claims backlog. i believe that this overtime initiative correctly shows that the secretary's commitment is there end to the problem of the backlog. and so i think that we should tread very carefully in this regard and with that i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from nevada. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no.
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in the opinion of the chair, the noes have. it the amendment is not agreed o. mr. culberson: mr. speaker, i want to be recorded as voting yes on this amendment. i'm sorry, i was distracted. mr. amodei: mr. chairman. the chair: the gentleman from nevada. mr. amodei: thank you, mr. chairman. on this item i'd request the yeas and nays. the chair: does the gentleman ask for a recorded vote? mr. amodei: yes, i would like to do that also, thank you, mr. chair. the chair: pursuant to clause 6 of rule 18, further proceedings on this amendment offered by the gentleman from nevada are postponed. the gentlewoman from california, for what purpose do you seek recognition? >> mr. chair, move to strike the last word.
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the chair: the gentlelady is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chair. this bill is one of the most important that the house will consider all year. it provides critical funds for military training facilities, improves living conditions for our troops and their families and addresses the need of our nation's veterans. as ranking member of the house veterans affairs subcommittee on health, however, i wanted to bring your attention to a erious issue. as you know, the advance appropriations process ensures the v.a. funding is not delayed by congress' failure to pass appropriations bills on time. for the past three year the g.a.o. has been required to review the accuracy of the administration's projecks for advanced funding for veterans' health care programs. ms. brawn lee: the report --
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ms. brownley: the report helps congress project appropriations and ensures the v.a. receives the funding needed for veteran health care. unfortunately, this g.a.o. reporting -- reporting requirement is scheduled to sunset on june 30. i believe this should be extended and a number of vet raps service organizations have expressed concern about this issue as well. as the bill moves forward, i ask the committee toe view this issue and continue the reporting requirement. on another note, one of our most important obligations is to ensure adequate training and support of our troops. that is why one of my first stops as a member of congress was to naval base ventura county. for fiscal year 2014, the navy requested funding for several important projects at point ma goo and other areas, including
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military housing, training, and maintenance facilities. this bill provides funding for base infrastructure improvement but it is a decrease from last year and also below the d.o.d. request. on behalf of my constituents serving at naval base ventura county, i would like to express my hope that these reductions do not come at the expense of the much needed infrastructure improvements at point ma goo and port -- and the port. i'm also pleased that h.r. 2216 funds veterans benefits and programs. it provides $43.6 billion for v.a. medical services to serve about $6 -- to serve about 6.5 million veterans. it provides mental health support, suicide prevention, traumatic brain injury treatment, homeless veteran programs and rural health initiatives. it continues work on an integrated d.o.d. v.a. system,
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the paperless claim process system, digital scanning of health records and transparent reporting on our progress with a claims backlog for claims benefits. finally it funds construction and renovation of hundreds of v.a. health clinics, medical resident sis and nursing homes. support of our service mebs, veterans and their families is of the highest importance. however, we must be mindful of the entire budget picture. like many of my colleagues i am concerned that we are operating under inadequate discretionary budget caps that will not allow taos provide sufficient funding later in the appropriations process for programs that are important to middle class families and seniors such as education and health care programs. while this bill is not perfect, it does provide critical funding for our nation's military construction projects and for our nation's veterans and aintend to support the
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final passage of this bill and i yield back the balance of my time. thank you, mr. chairman. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from california yields back. the clerk will -- the chair: the gentlelady from california yields back. the clerk will read. the clerk: military systems including transfer of funds -- >> mr. chairman. the chair: the gentleman from texas. >> i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will report the amendment. mr. culberson: i'd like to ask unanimous consent that the amendment be considered as read. the chair: is there objection? the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment offered by mr. culberson of texas. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. culberson: i rise with an amendment to clarify the house appropriations subcommittee's intent with regard to i want grade -- integrated electronic health record system we want the v.a. to adopt. this involves two appropriations subcommittees and two authorizing commerks armed services and veterans
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affairs. we have talked with our friends on the authorizing committees and agree the best way forward is for language to be included in each one of these bills that conveys a wrunefied position. i am confident that all parties in congress and in the department of defense and veteran affairs share he same goal of having an integrated unified health record. my amendment move re-moves some of the specificity but retains the reference point of an integrated record. this allows all sides to spend more time developing mutually acceptable language for the national defense authorization act and other legislation as we move forward with this bill as well, which clearly defines the intent of congress that we will have an integrated record with its capability of helping our men and women in uniform when they move out of active service into the v.a. we are unshakeable in our commitment as a congress to make certain that we solve this problem as quickly as humanly possible. i can tell you the subcommittee, the committees of
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jurisdiction, and the entire congress to -- is tired of the delays, we're tired of postponement, we're tired of dispute, this has to be solved immediately and i'm going to continue to work aggressively with our colleagues on the authorizing committee and with our good friends in the -- on the defense appropriations subcommittee, all of us together, arm in arm, regardless of party, from all parts of the country to make sure we get one, single, unified, integrated, electronic medical record as fast as humanly possible. that's why the reason i offer this amendment today and i urge support. i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from georgia. mr. bishop: i move to strike the last word. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. bishop: i believe this mendment reflects the position of the department of defense on the electronic health record. the 2008 authorization act
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dwected the two departments to develop a single electronic health record system that will follow a service member from the time he or she enlisted mt. mill to the time they exited v.a. care, by 2009. however, after a number of management, oversight, and planning snags and snafus and the cost estimates that gue from $4 billion to nearly $12 billion, former defense secretary leon panetta and v.a. secretary eric shin sec key decided to alter -- sin se key decided to at -- shinseki decided to alter their plans to make the plans interoperable. recently secretary hay fwal of the department of defense made the decision to modernize the department of defense health records through purchase of commercial software. a recent memo to the department -- released by the department
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defense makes no mention of the integrated health records and it seems to be more of the go it alone, stovepipe approach favored by the pentagon in the past. in addition to this memo, it made no mention of the congressional lay mandated role of the interagency program office set up to run the integrated electronic health records project and staffed by more than 300 personnel from both departments. finally, by going the commercial route, i believe the department of defense has opened up its latest electronic health records scheme to protest and subsequent delays. with all these issues laid out, some still want to think the department of defense should be ree to do whatever it pleases. mr. chairman, paper is a problem and we cannot keep letting service members leave
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the department of defense with paper records. please know that this situation will be addressed further as we move through the process and we support the gentleman's amendment, i think it is timely, i think it is necessary and with that, i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from georgia yields back. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from texas. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. the amendment is agreed. o -- is agreed to. for what purpose does the gentleman from virginia seek recognition? >> mr. chairman, i rise to strike the last word. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. >> mr. chairman, i have an amendment at the desk that would strike section 413 of this bill. mr. moran: first of all, i have great respect, even affection, for the chairman of the subcommittee and the ranking member and their exemplary staff.
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but section 413 of this bill, mr. chairman, would prohibit funds to construct, renovate or expand any facility in the u.s. for the purposes of housing guantanamo detainees. according to a recent g.a.o. report, there are prisons in the u.s. that could hold the guantanamo detainees as safely and securely as the security conditions at the guantanamo facility. the department of defense and the department of justice both operate detention facilities comparable to guantanamo bay and currently hold convicted terrorists and other felons connected to terrorism. the g.a.o. report, however, noted that existing facilities would need to be slightly modified and current inmates would need to be relocated, perhaps. but this would prohibit that. the fact is that i can't imagine that there are members of the chamber that believe
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that indefinitely detaining individuals at guantanamo bay for the rest of their lives without access to a fair trial comports with american standards of justice. now, first of all, a few words about gitmo itself. 86% of the guantanamo detainees were captured in exchange far bounty. a majority of these young men never actually committed an act of violence against the united states or its allies. 5% were perhaps members of al qaeda. so let's assume that 5% were because there seems to be some indication that they were. but 95% were not. now from a national security standpoint, gitmo has been too easily used as a rallying cry and a recruitment tool for our enemies.
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for that reason, its continued existence really is a direct threat to our national security. language such as is in this bill has constrained the president's options for closing this detention facility. president obama still retains the authority to significantly decrease the prison's population, though, should he choose to do so, he could waive the requirements that countries take action to reduce the risk that a detainee not engage in terrorism, it would clear about half of the prison's entire population. since guantanamo was opened, the statistics indicate that bout 13% may have become recidivists. but less than 5% of president oobama's transfers have. military strategy often
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dictates that by releasing lower threat detainees, you mitigate the risk of more. we release many foot soldiers in afghanistan who are far worse than guantanamo detainees. but what is most relevant to this bill's language is that 46 detainees have been designated for indefinite ditension, either because they are too dangerous to release or they can't be charged in a court due to evidentiary standard. the president formed a periodic review board but it's never been formed and the president should do that but those detainees who cannot be transferred, i think, should be tried in civilian courts here in the united states. but given the limits congress broadly placed on such transfer that can't be done today. not withstanding the fact that our federal courts tried more than 1,000 terrorists. the united states holds 373
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individuals quicked of terrorism in 98 facilities across the country. there are six department of defense facilities where guantanamo detainees could be held in the united states that are currently a at a bined 48% capacity. -- at a combined 48% capacity. less happen half of the capacity is being usedful believing they will never leave cuba, more than 100 are protesting their indefinite detention the only way they can. 37 detainees are currently being tube fed a procedure -- procedure that requires a lubricated tube be inserted own a detainee's nose and to its stomach. the fact is -- the chair: the president's time has expired. mr. moran: the president cann't do what he needs to do as long as section 413 remains in this bill and that's why my amendment would remove this
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restriction. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. the clerk will read. for what purpose does the gentleman from california seek recognition? >> i rise to strike the last word. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. vargas: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise in support of the efforts to address the increasing backlog of veterans' disability claims in the f.y. 2014 military construction and veterans appropriations bill. we must do everything in our power to ensure that the men and women who have served honorably in the armed services receive the full benefits they have earned for protecting our freedoms abroad. it's a shame that our veterans have to wait an average of 321 days to receive a response from the department of veterans affairs after filing a claim. my district, i have the privilege of representing the southern portion of san diego county and all of imperial county in california.

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